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UNIVERSITY 

OF PITTSBURGH 

LIBRARIES 

DAR. RM. 
EX779f^ 



FRIENDS' 

HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

OF 

SWARTHMORE COLLEGE 




MEMOIRS 



OF 



THE LIFE 



OF 



ISAAC PENINGTON; 



TO WHICH IS ADDED 



A REVIEW OF HIS WRITINGS 



BY 

JOSEPH GURNEY BEVAN. 



THOMAS KITE, 64 WALNUT STREET. 
1831. 



Digitized by tine Internet Archive 

in 2009 with funding from 

University of Pittsburgh Library System 



http://www.archive.org/details/memoirsoflifeofiOOinpeni 



INTRODUCTION. 



The character of a man may be known by his wri- 
tings : and it must be allowed of greater importance to 
inspect the thoughts of a virtuous man, than simply to 
know the outward circumstances of his life. But when 
we are pleased or edified with the writings of an author 
of distinction, we become naturally curious to know the 
manner in which he passed his time : and, on the other 
hand, if we are led from the perusal of biography, to 
believe that the subject of it was a person qualified to 
please or to edify, we are disposed to continue our ac- 
quaintance, by perusing also the memorials of his wis- 
dom which he has left behind him. 

It is chiefly on the former account that a collection 
of the few scattered accounts of the life of Isaac Pening- 
ton would be, if well executed, a useful work. His nu- 
merous tracts have been three times edited, and lie 
open to the access of every one. They a"re generally 
grateful and consolatory to that class of readers which 
is composed of persons who feel their own feeble state, 
with respect to rehgious concerns ; and desire to be, so 
far as it is right they should be, assisted by the experi- 
ence of others. But two quarto, or four octavo volumes, 
closely printed, are, to many, formidable things ; and 
it is certain too, that considerable attention of mind is a 
requisite qualification, and considerable calmness of 
mind a very desirable one, to sit down to the perusal of 
the valuable remains of this eminent Friend. Cursory 
readers, also, have imputed to Isaac Penington the 
charge of mysticism ; a term, as generally used, of not 
the most definite import, but sometimes sufficient to de- 
ter the impatient from examining for themselves into 
the justice of the charge. 

A 2 



IV INTRODUCTION. 

It is then worth the attempt to introduce, by a short 
memorial, so excellent a writer as Isaac Penington, to 
the knowledge of such as are not likely otherwise to 
undertake to know him for themselves ; and there is the 
more reason to hope that the account which I have 
compiled, may occasion a desire to know more of him, 
because it must necessarily include many extracts, in 
which he will be permitted to relate, in his own terms, 
his own testimony. 

In the narrative considerable use is made of a manu- 
script Account of many particular events in the life of 
Mary Penington, wife of Isaac Penington, written by 
herself. Recourse has also been had to a manuscript 
Collection of letters written on various occasions by 
Isaac Penington, lately presented by John Kendall, of 
Colchester, to the library belonging to Friends in London. 

However, beside the many specimens of his temper 
and manner, which are interspersed throughout this bi- 
ographical sketch, I have provided a slight epitome of 
his written labours, in the Review* which follows it. 
By the perusal of both, 1 believe the reader will form 
an idea, not very far from the truth, of the character of 
this our predecessor in profession. I hope that it may 
induce him occasionally to have immediate recourse to 
his instructive page ; and I heartily desire that an ac- 
quaintance with it may be beneficial ; as it will be, if 
it prove the means of leading him to a more intimate 
acquaintance with his own wants, and with the power 
and love of his Redeemer. 



* In the second part of the Review the reader will frequently 
observe mention made of Whiting's Catalogue. The title at length 
is " A Catalogue of Friends' Books ; written by many of the peo- 
ple called Quakers, from the beginning or first appearance of the 
said people, collected for a general service, by J. W. London. 
1708 :" about 238 pages, octavo. It is the prime book for such as 
wish to make a collection of our ancient Friends' writings. 



CONTENTS. 

CHAP. I. 

His birth— education— station of his father— some hints at 
his political sentiments, and his moderation, taken from 
his early writings— his marriage — the reproof given to 
him and his wife, for their gaiety, by a Friend— further 
discourse with this person — interview with T. Curtis and 
W. Simpson, by which Mary Penington is convinced — 
Isaac at J. Crook's in Bedfordshire, there fully convinced 
by George Fox — his account of his spiritual travail, ta- 
ken from his treatise " Concerning God's teachings and 
Christ's law"— further account from T. Ellwood's testi- 
mony — further account from Works, vol. 2. p. 49 — fur- 
ther account from his Address to the Rulers, Teachers, 
and People of New England, Works, vol. 1. p. cclvi. 

page 13 

CHAP. H. 

Account of Mary Penington — her desire to be able to per- 
form true prayer — her written, and extemporaneous 
prayer — marries Colonel Springett — her husband's 
death — refuses to have her child sprinkled— seeks soli- 
tude, for prayer — yet attends diversions — a dream — her 
habit of trust — cannot pray-another remarkable dream- 
her marriage with I. Penington, and its motives — some 
previous knowledge of Friends — her state of mind when 
Curtis and Simpson visited the family — her conflicts — 
her joy at the first meeting held at I. Penington's house 
— further account of her spiritual state pcge 37 

CHAP. HI. 
Reproaches and insults bestowed on I. and M. Penington 
— extract of a letter to his father — a visit from the fami- 
ly of EUvvood — the alteration of that of I. P. — its effects 
— a second visit, at which the younger Ellwood is con- 
vinced — M. Penington pleads for him with his father, and 
takes him to Chalfont. First imprisonment of Isaac Pen- 
ington — his letter from prison to T. Ellwood — the man- 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

ner of his confinement — his employment — his piece 
" Concerning the Magistrate's protection of the inno- 
cent" — release — apprehended again but not imprisoned 
— is the means of introducing Ellwood, as reader, to 
Milton — engages him as tutor to his children — some ex- 
tracts from his writings — second imprisonment — third 
imprisonment, having been taken into custody whilst at- 
tending the burial of a Friend — his cheerfulness in pri- 
son—release — fourth imprisonment — plague in the gaol 
— released — soon imprisoned a fifth time — his letter to 
the Earl of Bridgewater — his health impaired — his re- 
lease — letter to a Friend — to George Fox^ — to Friends 
of Amersham page 48 

CHAP. IV. 

Loss of his estate — attachment to his friends in Bucks — 
goes to board at Waltham Abbey, Essex—by the assis- 
tance of his wife purchases a house at Amersham Wood- 
side — she superintends the alterations — Conventicle act 
— sixth imprisonment, at Reading — released by patent 
with many others — his constancy in suffering — death of 
his son at sea — his tract entitled "Flesh and blood of 
Christ," &c. — its occasion — a review of it — letter to a 
friend yage 77 

CHAP. V. 

Goes to A strop Wells — writes to the resorters to that spot 
— also his tract called " The everlasting Gospel," <fec. 
also to the Oxford scholars — goes into Kent — at meet- 
ing in Canterbury — taken ill — dies at Goodnestone court 
— buried at Jordan's, Bucks — register — some account of 
those who wrote testimonies of him — G. Whitehead — 
S. Jennings — A. Rigge-— T. Zachary — R. Jones — T. 
Evernden — C. Taylor— A. Parker— Copy of his son's 
testimony — of his wife's page 94 

CHAP. VI. 

Account of his widow — her state of mind — her daughter 
Gulielma Penn — laid up with a fever at Edmonton — her 
state of mind when ill, and ailing — her fear of death re- 
moved — dies at Worminghurst, Sussex page 108 



CONTENTS. IX 

REVIEW. 

PART L 

Review of the writings of Isaac Penington before he 
joined the Society of Friends. 

Page 

1. A Touchstone, or Trial of Faith, &c. 1648 . .115 

2. The great and sole Troubler of the Times, represented in 

a map of misery, &c. 1649 117 

3. A Voice out of the thick darkness, &c. 1650. . 117 

4. Light or Darkness, displaying or hiding itself, as it pleas- 
eth, &c. 1650 118 

5. Several fresh inward Openings, Sec 1650 . . ibid. 

6. An Echo from the great deep, &c. 1650 . . ibid. 

7. The fundamental right, safety, and liberty of the people, 
&c. 1651 120 

8. The life of a Christian, which is a lamp kindled and light- 
ed from the love of Christ, &,c. 1652 . . . ibid. 

9. A considerable question about Government briefly dis- 
cussed, &c. 1653 .121 

10. Divine Essays, or considerations about several things in 
Religion, &c. 1654 122 

11. Expositions, with observations sometimes, on several 
scriptures, &c. 1656 124 



REVIEW. 

PART IL 

Review of the writings of Isaac Penington, after he join- 
ed the Society of Friends. 

Page 

1. The way of life and death made manifest, &,c. 1658 130 

2. The scattered sheep sought after, &c, 1659 . . 132 

3. Babylon the great described, &c. 1657 . . . 133 

4. The Jew outward, being a glass for the professors of this 
age, &c. 1659 134 

5. The Axe laid to the root of the old corrupt tree, &c. 
1659 ibid. 

6. To the Parliament, the Army, and all the well-affected 

in the nation. 1659 137 

7. A brief account of some Reasons, &.c. No date . ibid. 

8. Some considerations, proposed to the city of London, 
&e. No date ........ ibid. 



K CONTENTS. 

Page 
9. Some considerations proposed to the distracted nation 
of England. 1659 138 

10. To the Army . • ibid, 

11. A question propounded to the rulers, &c. of England, 
1659 ibid. 

12. The root of Popery struck at, &c. 1660 . . 139 

13. An examination of the grounds or causes, &c. respect- 
mg the persecution in New-England. 1660 . . 140 

14. A warning of love, &c. 1660 ibid, 

15. Where is the wise ? Where is the scribe ? &c. 1660 141 

16. An Epistle to all such as observe the seventh-day of the 
week for a sabbath. 1660 142 

17. The new covenant of the gospel distinguished from the 

old covenant of the law, &c. 1660 .... ibid. 

18. Some few queries, &c. proposed to the Cavaliers, &c. 

No date ibid. 

19. Some queries concerning the work of God in the world, 
&c. 1660 . 143 

20. The consideration of a position concerning the book of 
Common Prayer. 1660 . . . . . . 144 

21. An answer to that common objection against the Qua- 
kers, that they condemn all but themselves, 1660 . 145 

22. The great question concerning Swearing, &c. 1661 146 

23. Somewhat spoken to a weighty question, concerning the 
magistrate's protection of the innocent, &c. 1661 . ibid. 

24. Concerning Persecution, &c. 1661 «... ibid. 

25. Some directions to the panting soul, &c. 1661 , 147 

26. Concerning the worship of the living God, &;c. No 
date . 148 

27. To all such as complain they want power, &c. 1661 ibid. 

28. Some questions and answers for the opening of the eyes 

of the Jews natural, «fec, 1661 149 

29. Some questions and answers showing man his duty &c. 
1662 ibid, 

30. Some observations on thatportion of scripture, Rom. xiv. 

20. 1662 ......... 150 

31. Three queries propounded to the King and Parliament. 

No date . . . . . . . . . 151 

32. A salutation of love and tender good-will to the Com- 
missioners of the Peace for the county of Bucks. No 
date 152 

33. A weighty question propounded to the King and both 
houses of Parliament. 1663 . . . . . ibid. 

34. Some of the Mysteries of God's kingdom glanced at, &;c. 
1663 153 

35. Some deep considerations, concerning the state of Israel, 
past, present, and to come, &c. No date . . . 155 

36. Concerning God's seeking out his Israel, «&c. 1663 157 

37. Some queries concerning the order and government of 
the church of Christ. No date . .... 159 



CONTENTS. XI 

Page 

38. To Friends in England, Ireland, &c. 1666 . . 160 

39. One more tender visitation to this generation, &c. 1666 ibid. 

40. Concerning the Church, under the Gospel, &c. 1666 ibid. 

41. Concerning the sum or substance of our Religion, who 

are called Quakers. No date 161 

42. Some things of great weight and concernment to all,&c. 
166T , . 162 

43. A question to the professors of Christianity, &c. 1667 163 

44. To such as are not satisfied with a profession, &c. 1668 165 

45. Observations on some passages of Lodowick Muggleton, 

&c. 1668 166 

46. Some things relating to Religion, proposed to the Royal 
Society, &c. 1668 ibid. 

47. Of the Church in its first and pure state, in its declining 
state, &c. 1668 168 

48. An inquiry after Truth and Righteousness, &c. 1671 170 

49. The holy Truth and People defended. Sec. 1672 . ibid. 

50. The ancient principle of Truth, &c. 1672 . . 171 

51. Naked Truth, &c. 1674 173 

52. The flesh and blood of Christ testified to, &c. 1675 175 

53. To the Jews natural and spiritual, Sec. 1677 . . 176 

54. The everlasting Gospel testified to, &c. 1678 . 178 

55. A further testimony to Truth. Posthumous . . 179 

56. Life and Immortality brought to light through the Gos- 
pel. Posth 181 

57. A reply to queries and animadversions. Posth. . 186 

58. A few experiences, &c. Posth 189 

59. A treatise concerning God's teachings, &c. Posth.. 191 

60. A question answered, concerning reading the Scriptures 
aright. Posth 193 

61. Somewhat relating to Church-government. Posth. 194 

62. Some misrepresentations of Me, concerning Church-go- 
vernment, cleared. Posth 196 

63. The Seed of God, and of his kingdom, treated of, &c. 
Posth ... 197 

64. An epistle to all serious professors. Posth. . . 200 

65. A reply to an answer of some queries . . . 203 

Also, the following short pieces, scarcely to be 
called books. 
a. Five Epistles to Friends in Chalfont .... ibid. 

ibid. 

ibid. 

204 

205 



b. Some queries concerning compulsion in Religion 

c. Concerning the dispensation of the Gospel 

d. Some experiences, &c 

e. Concerning^ the times and seasons, &c. 



ADVERTISEMENT, 



In the second part of the Review, may be found aome observations 
on the following important subjects; in most of which the sense 
ot our author on them is plainly apparent. 

Atonement 

Christ 

Co-essence 

Imputation 

Infallibility 

John's 1st Epistle, v. 7. 

Joy . 

The Lord's Prayer 



Page 202 


Love . . Page 154 


188 


Perfection . . 189, 190 


183,t6zrf. 


Peter's 2d. Ep. i. 19 . 172 


185 


Reading the Scriptures 193 


. 204 


Scripture . . . 187 


7. 201 


The Seed . . 197 


175 


Silent worship , 192 


183 


Trinity . . 201 



MEMOIRS, 

&c. 



CHAP. I. 



His birth — education — station of his father — some hints at his 
political sentiments, and his moderation, taken from his early 
writings — his marriage — the reproof given to him and his wife, 
for their gaiety, by a Friend — further discourse with this per- 
son — interview with T. Curtis and W, Simpson — by which 
Mary Penington is convinced — Isaac at J. Crook's in Bedford- 
shire, there fully convinced by George Fox — his account of his 
spiritual travail, taken from his treatise "Concerning God's 
teachings, and Christ's law" — further account from T.Ellwood's 
Testimony — further account from Works, vol. ii. p. 49 — further 
account from his Address to the Rulers, Teachers, and People 
of New England, Works, vol. i. p. 256. 

Isaac Penington was born about the year 1616, 
heir, to use the words of his son-in-law* William Penn, 
to a fair inheritance. It would be gratifying to trace 
the steps of the childhood of a man, in whom the sim- 
plicity of the child so long survived the weakness ; but 
until further search can be made, it must suffice to 
learn from the same author, that his education was suit- 
able to his quality among men, and that he had all the 



* By marriage with Gulielma Maria Springett, daughter of 
Isaac Penington's wife by a former husband. 



14 MEMOIRS OF 

advantages that the schools and universities of his own 
country could bestow ; as well as such as arose from 
the conversation of some of the most knowing and con- 
siderable men of the time. He arrived at manhood at 
a period when England was agitated with the tempest 
of civil commotion, by means of the discord between 
Charles I. and his parliament; and as the father of 
Penington was himself a violent partisan, the son, had 
his temper inclined him to enter the lists, might proba- 
bly soon have arisen to eminence in the republic. But 
he seems early to have set his mind on another contest 
than the one for worldly power ; and " to have chosen 
a life dedicated to an inquiry after God, and a holy fel- 
lowship with his despised" people. He chose, he 
sought, he strove, and he obtained ; but had his choice 
been to follow the path into which his father had en- 
tered, disappointment would most likely have been the 
ultimate consequence. The elder Penington had been 
chief magistrate of the metropolis, he had raised the 
forces of the city to join the parliament's army, he had 
been intrusted with the charge of the Tower, and had 
been one of the council of state; but the Restoration 
reversed the condition of public affairs, and he died a 
prisoner in the fortress which he had formerly com- 
manded. 

But though Isaac Penington forbore to enter into 
the contests which rent the nation, he was far from 
being an unconcerned spectator of the misery of his 
country. To this some of the tracts w^hich he publish- 
ed long before he joined the Society of Friends, bear 
ample testimony. But he looked for the cause of the 
evil rather in the depraved state of man's heart in ge- 
neral, than in any particular party or set of men. In 
the preface to one tract, published in 1 650, entitled, 
according to the fashion of titles in those days, " A 
Voice out of the thick Darkness," he mentions an in- 
tention he had before conceived of publishing some- 
thing concerning the state of affairs. " 1 should have 
expressed," says he, " ill will to none, but only have ut- 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 15 

tered that deep afifection that was then in me, towards 
the soldering and heaUng the distempers of such spirits 
as are made more miserable l^y their own discontents, 
than they could be by any thing else that can, in pro- 
bability, befall them." — " There are one sort of men 
whom I should more especially have apphed myself 
unto ; who are wonderous eager after making the na- 
tion happy; whose spirits can be no ways satisfied till 
they see the attainment of that universal freedom, and 
the flowing forth of that universal, speedy justice, which 
is easy to be desired, but hard to be met with." To 
persons of this description, he gives the following ad- 
vice. " Be content to pass througli your pilgrimage 
without the full enjoyment of that freedom ye have de- 
sired, and pressed so hard after. There is a power 
above, whose will may cross yours in this ; which may 
as well find fault with your untowardness to be go- 
verned, as with the self-seeking of such as have been 
governors." — " It is a brave thing sometimes to oppose 
the yoke ; but a braver, from judgment to submit un- 
to it. It is, in many cases, better for particular per- 
sons, yea for societies, to bear than avoid the yoke." — 
" It is the stiffness of the neck, and unbrokenness of the 
spirit that chiefly makes all our yokes so harsh." But 
he subjoins, "Groan, pant after, and, in a just way, 
pursue the attainment of perfect freedom. Lie not 
down as a slave, with a base, abject spirit, counting 
slavery best ; but with a sweet spirit submit to it for 
necessity's sake : and let a sense appear of 5^our prizing 
and desiring of liberty. And w^hat w^ay of attaining it 
is made out to you plainly and evidently justifiable, for- 
bear not to fall in with ; yet not in such a violent and 
irrational manner, as to make your more noble parts 
far worse slaves to brutish passions within, to avoid 
a more inferior slavery of the outward and more igno- 
ble part." 

It is probable, that notwithstanding the mildness and 
moderation of his temper, and his great preference of 
peace to contention, Penington in his judgment inchned 



16 MEMOIRS OF 

to a commonwealth. For in the following year he pub- 
lished a pamphlet entitled " The fundamental Right, 
Safety and Liberty of the People (which is radically in 
themselves, derivatively in the parliament, their sub- 
stitutes or representatives) asserted." " This right," 
saith he, " lielh chiefly in these three things — in the 
people's choice of their government and governors — 
in the establishment of that government and governors 
whom they shall choose — and in the alteration of either 
as they shall find cause." These principles are demo- 
cratical, and accordingly the Salus populi, suprema lex, 
is the prominent feature of the book. But it is at most 
a representative, not a pure, democracy at which the 
author aims. He shews the impossibility of the peo- 
ple acting for themselves : and the impropriety of a 
parliament assuming both legislative and administra- 
tive power. He seems even not averse to the latter 
being placed in the hands of a king. " Though," these 
are his words, " I shall not plead for the resettlement 
of kingly government (for I am not so far engaged in 
my atjfections to it, as it yet hath been) yet I would 
have a fair and friendly shaking hands with it, and not 
any blame laid upon it beyond its desert. For doubt- 
less it is both proper, good, and useful in its kind ; and 
hath its advantages above any other government on 
the one hand, as it hath also its disadvantages on the 
other hand." 

In short, though the desire of Penington seems to 
have been the general welfare of the people : he only 
expected it (so far as civil policy can effect it,) from 
the preservation of every rank in the state within its 
own limits. "Kingly power," thus he writes in his 
prefatory address to the parliament, " did pass its limits, 
we may now speak it." The times of Charles 1. the 
late stretches of prerogative by that monarch, and the 
attempts at power independent of the parliament, were 
of course fresh in his memory. But Penington imme- 
diately subjoins, "Doth parliamentary power keep 
within its limits?" — " And if things should yet devolve 



ISAAC PENINGTON. l^ 

lower, into the great and confused body of the people, 
is it hkely they would keep their hmits I" — " Man can- 
not be free in himself, nor free from himself, (while 
self is in him it will make him selfish) and while it 
is so, others under his power or within his reach cannot 
be free." 

Another short extract from the body of the work 
may close the description of the political part of the 
character of Isaac Penington, and show that universal 
benevolence formed its basis. ."There is not one sort 
of men upon the face of the earth, to whom I bear any 
enmity in my spirit (though in some respect I must con- 
fess myself an enemy to every sort of men) but wish, 
with all my heart, they might all attain and enjoy as 
much peace, prosperity, and happiness as their state 
will bear. There are not any to whom 1 should envy 
government : but, whoever they are, they should have 
my vote on their behalf, whom I saw fitted for it and 
called to it."* 

At the time of these publications Penington was more 
than thirty years of age ; they are not, therefore, to be 
considered as the mere effusions of an ingenuous youth- 
ful mind ; but as the result of observation and judg- 
ment, operating on a mind amply endued with philan- 
thropy and piety. Nor can his attachment, at a much 



* The following extract of a letter written many years after may 
further show how little of a politician, as the word is commonly 
used, was Penington. See Kendall's MS. Coll. vol. i. p. 334.— 
"Now as to his relation of the affairs of the late times, I was ob- 
served by all sorts to be one of a retired spirit and conversation, 
not meddling with affairs, covenants, or engagements ; nor taking 
any advantage of preferment, gain, or honour, in those times, when 
thrust upon me ; but mourned with those that suffered in those 
times ; not expecting much happiness from outward changes ; nor 
satisfied with any of the changes that then were. I would I could 
yet see the change which [ have all along, longed to see, whicli 
was not of the outward form of government, but from unrighteous- 
ness to righteousness. This is ths plain truth of my heart in these 
things, and I could wish from mj heart that the Lord God of hea- 
ven and earth had taught chee to fear and love God and the king 
as He hath done me, in truth and righteousness." 
B 2 



18 MEMOIRS or 

later period, to the principles of Friends, be ascribed 
of course to the ardency of a youthful invagination, for 
he had then arrived at least at his fortieth year ; an 
age at which the manly character is, if ever, fully de- 
veloped : and he appears, besides, by bis writings, to 
have been a man of unusual calmness of mind. He had 
married, in what year I do not find,* Mary, the widow 
of Colonel Springett ; and at the time of his adopting 
the profession of Friends lived on his estate at Chalfont, 
called St. Peter's, in Buckinghamshire. The ground 
of their union was a coincidence in religious sentiments. 
Each had long been dissatisfied with many of the forms 
in use, even in those times of supposed reformation ; 
each was earnestly seeking after a religion that could 
bring assurance with it ; and each was in no small de- 
gree already acquainted with spiritual exercises, and 
devotions. One day, as they were walking together in 
a park, a man who had lately attached himself to the 
people called Quakers, rode by ; and remarking their 
gay apparel, reproved them aloud for their pride. Ma- 
ry Penington replied with disdain, " You are a public 
preacher indeed, thus to preach on the high-way." 
The stranger, who having said what appeared so far 
sufficient for him, was probably riding on, now turned 
back : for he said that he again felt a love for Isaac 
Penington, as he saw grace in his very countenance. 
He therefore drew up close to the pales, and spoke to 
them of the light and grace of God, which had appear- 
ed to all men. Isaac Penington engaged him in dis- 
course, and the occupier of the premises invited him in ; 
but as he perceived Penington to be superior to him in 
argument, by means of his natural and acquired abili- 
ties, and as he knew himself to be but young in religi- 
ous experience, he declined the debate ; but said that 
he would the next day bring with him a man, who 
should answer all the questions and objections of his 



+ Probably not later than 1654, eetat. 38. 



ISAAC PENINGTOX. 19 

learned disputant. The person thus intended to be 
produced was George Fox ; but the zealous stranger 
was disappointed of his assistance ; and our pious cou- 
ple were visited by two other Friends, namely, Thomas 
Curtis of Reading, and William Simpson from Lanca- 
shire. I do not find any particulars of their conversa- 
tion so far as it related to Isaac. Mary has left an ac- 
count of the effect of the visit on her mind, as tending 
to her fully giving up her heart to the doctrines and 
practices of Friends. It is also not to be doubted that 
Isaac received in this conference some inducements to 
make trial of their doctrines ; but he was not hasty to 
adopt their manners ; and indeed those of the persons 
who had declared to him these doctrines, appeared very 
mean and contemptible. 

It is not easy to fix with precision the date of the 
convincement of Isaac Penington. Alexander Parker, 
an eminent Friend, in his testimony prefixed to Pening- 
ton's works, says that he first saw him at a meeting at 
Reading in the year 1 656 (probably attracted thither 
by acquaintance with Thomas Curtis) ; and that though 
Penington did not then bear the sjarb and appearance 
of a Friend, his soul cleaved to him in the bowels of the 
love of truth. William Penn, in a similar testimony, 
but in his own peculiar style, says, " About the year 
1657 it pleased the Lord to send him a Peter, to de- 
clare to him that the time of the pouring forth of the 
Holy Spirit, and breaking forth of the heavenly work 
of God, in the souls of men and women, was come; and 
many Aquilas and Priscillas came after, who instructed 
him in the way of God more perfectly." It seems, how- 
ever, to have been at a meeting held at the house of 
John Crook, who had been in the commission of the 
peace, in Bedfordshire, and by means of the preaching 
of George Fox, that Isaac Penington became fully sa- 
tisfied. Of this meeting, which was held about the time 
called Whitsuntide, 1658, and of the doctrine preached 
in it, there is a large account in the Journal, or rather 
Annals of George Fox. " At this meeting," says Alex- 



20 MEMOIRS OF 

ander Parker before mentioned, *' the mystery of ini- 
quity was so opened, and the mystery of the gospel of 
peace so plainly manifested, that he (Penington) was 
fully satisfied : and from that time gave up himself to 
the obedience of Truth — took up the cross — and suf- 
fered • with us for the name and testimony of Jesus." 
These dates bespeak him to have been from forty to 
forty-two years of age when he joined the rising and 
persecuted society of Friends. The steps which led to 
this event, and the peaceful establishment of the mind 
of Isaac Penington in the adoption of this despised pro- 
fession, let his own words declare. 

" I was acquainted," says he, " with a spring of life 
from my childhood, which enlightened me in my tender 
years, and pointed my heart towards the Lord, begetting 
true sense in me, and faith, and hope, and love, and hu- 
mility, and meekness, &c. so that indeed I was a wonder 
to some that knew me, because of the savour and life of 
religion which dwelt in my heart, and appeared in my 
conversation. But I never durst trust the spring of my 
life, and the springings up of life therefrom: but in 
reading the scriptures, gathered what knowledge I 
could therefrom, and set this over the spring and 
springings of life in me ; and indeed judged that I ought 
so to do. JVotwithstanding which, the Lord was very 
tender and merciful to me, helping me to pray, and help- 
ing me to understand the scriptures, and opening and 
warming my heart every day. And truly, my soul was 
very near the Lord, and my heart was made and pre- 
served very low and humble before Him, and very sensi- 
ble of his rich love and mercy to me in the Lord Jesus 
Christ : as I did daily from my heart cry grace, grace, 
unto Him, in every thing my soul received and partook 
of from Him." 

" Indeed I did not look to have been so broken, shat- 
tered, and distresssed, as I afterwards was, and could 
by no means understand the meaning thereof, my heart 
truly and earnestly desiring after the Lord, and not 
having the sense of any guilt upon me." — •' At that 



ISAAC PENINGTOy. 21 

time, when I was broken and dashed to pieces in my 
religion, I was in a congregational way ; but soon after 
parted with them, yet in great love, relating to them 
how the hand of the Lord was upon me, and how I was 
smitten in the inward part of my religion, and could not 
now hold up an outward form of that which I inwardly 
wanted ; having lost my God, my Christ, my faith, my 
knowledge, my hfe, my all. And so we parted very 
lovingly, I wishing them well, even the presence of that 
God whom I wanted, promising to return to them 
again, if ever I met with that which my soul wanted,, 
and had clearness in the Lord so to do. 

" After I was parted from them, I never joined to 
any way or people ; but lay mourning day and night, 
pleading with the Lord, why he had forsaken me, and 
why I should be made so miserable through my love to 
him, and sincere desires after him. For truly, I can 
say, 1 had not been capable of so much misery as my 
soul lay in for many years, had not my love been so 
deep and true towards the Lord my God, and my de- 
sires so great after the sensible enjoyment of his Spirit, 
according to the promise and way of the gospel. Yet 
this I can also say in uprightness of heart, it was not 
gifts I desired, to appear and shine before men in : but 
grace and holiness, and the Spirit of the Lord dwelhng 
in me, to act my heart by his grace, and to preserve 
me in holiness." 

" Now indeed the Lord at length had compassion on 
me, and visited me : though in a time and way where- 
in I expected Him not ; nor was I willing (as to the na- 
tural part) to have that the way, which God showed me 
to be the way : but the Lord opened mine eye, and that 
which 1 know to be of Him in me closed with it, and 
owned it : and the pure seed was raised by his power, 
and my heart taught to know and own the seed, and to 
bow and worship before the Lord in the pure power, 
w^hich was then in my heart. So that of a truth I sen- 
sibly knew and felt my Saviour, and was taught by Him 
to take up the cross, and to deny that understanding, 



22 MEMOIRS OF 

knowledge, and wisdom, which had so long stood in my 
w^ay; and then 1 learned that lesson (being really 
taught it of the Lord), what it is indeed to become a 
fool for Christ's sake. I cannot say but I had learned 
somewhat of it formerly ; but I never knew how to 
keep to what I had learned till that day."* 

In this extract there is not any express declaration 
that the way which was at length cast up before the 
view of Isaac Penington, and in which he v^as enabled 
steadily to proceed through life, was the way pursued 
«by Friends. The following is more explicit on that 
head. It is intitled, " A true and faithful relation, in 
brief, concerning myself, in reference to my spiritual 
travails, and the Lord's dealings with me. *Isay true 
and faithful, because it is of the Truth, and not given 
forth in my own will, but in the Lord's, will and requir- 
ings of me at this time, for his service." There will, 
doubtless, be found in it some, of the same kind of mat- 
ter as forms a part of the extract already cited. To the 
spiritual traveller, however, this similarity will not be 
insipid, and it is possible that even critical readers may 
allow that the following piece is not unaptly selected, 
to fill up the more general outline of the preceding 
one. 

" I have been," says our amiable author, " a man of 
sorrow and affliction from my childhood, feeling the 
want of the Lord, and mourning after Him ; separated 
by Him from the love, nature, and spirit of this world ; 
and turned in spirit towards Him, almost ever since 1 
could remember." 

The Christian reader, probably, will not revolt at 
this exordium, or call it a gloomy portrait. He will 
call to mind the prophetic declaration concerning the 
Redeemer, " He is a man of sorrows and acquainted 
with grief:" and will by no means forget his Master's 
own consolatory sentence, " Blessed are they that 
mourn ; for they shall be comforted." 

* Penington's Works, 2nd edit. vol. ii. pp. 511, 512. 



ISAAC PENINGTOJf. 



23 



" In the sense of my lost estate," thus Penington pro- 
ceeds, " I sought after the Lord ; I read the scriptures; 
I watched over mine own heart; I cried unto the 
Lord for whaf 1 felt the want of; 1 blessed his name 
in what He mercifully did for me, and bestowed on 
me. Whatever I read in the scriptures, as the way 
of God to my understanding, I gave myself to the faith- 
ful practice of; being contented to meet with all the 
reproach, opposition, and several kinds of sufferings, 
which it pleased the Lord to measure out to me there- 
in. And I cannot but say that the Lord, was good un- 
to me, did visit me, did teach me, did help me, did tes- 
tify his acceptance of me many times, to the refreshing 
and joy of my heart before him." 

" But my soul was not satisfied with what I met 
with, nor indeed could be, there being further quick- 
enings and pressings in my spirit, after a more full, 
certain, and satisfactory knov/ledge ; even after the 
sense, sight, and enjoyment of God, as was testified in 
the scriptures to have been felt and enjoyed in the 
former times ; for I saw plainly that there was a stop 
of the streams, and a great falling short of the power, 
life, and glory, which they partook of. We had not so 
the Spirit, nor w^ere so in the faith^ nor did so walk 
and live in God, as they did. They were come to 
Mount Sion, and the heavenly Jerusalem, &c., which 
we had hardly so much as the literal knowledge or ap- 
prehension what they were. So that I saw the whole 
course of religion among us was, for the most part, but 
a talk, to what they felt, enjoyed, possessed, and lived 
in." 

" This sense made me sick at heart indeed, and 
set me upon deep crying to God, close searching the 
scriptures, and waiting on God, that 1 might receive 
the pure sense and understanding of them, from and in 
the light, and by the help of his Spirit. And what the 
Lord did bestow on me in that state, with thankful- 
ness I remember before Him at this very day ; for He 
was then my God, and a pitier and watcher over me : 



24 MEMOIRS OF 

though He had not then pleased to direct me how to 
stay my mind upon Him. And then I was led (indeed 
I was led, I did not run of myself) into a way of sepa- 
ration from the worship of the world, into a gathered 
society ; for this both the scripture, and the Spirit of 
God in me gave testimony unto ; and what we then 
met with, and what leadings and help we then felt, 
there is a remembrance and testimony in my heart to 
this day. But there was somewhat wanting, and we 
mistook our way, for whereas we should have pressed 
forward into the spirit and power, we ran too much 
outward into the letter and form ; and though the Lord 
in many things helped us, yet therein He was against 
us, and brought darkness, confusion, and scattering up- 
on us. I was sorely broken and darkened, and in this 
darkened state sometimes lay still for a long season, se- 
cretly mourning, and crying out to the Lord, night and 
day. Sometimes 1 ran about, hearkening after what 
might appear or break forth in others : but never met 
with any thing whereto there was the least answer in 
my heart, save in one people, who had a touch of truth: 
but I never expressed so much to any of them, nor in- 
deed felt them at all able to reach my condition. At 
last, after all my distresses, wanderings, and sore tra- 
vails, I met with some writings of this people called 
Quakers, which I cast a slight eye upon and disdained, 
as falling very short of that wisdom, light, life, and 
power which I had been longing for, and searching af- 
ter. I had likewise, some pretty distance of time after 
this, opportunity of meeting with some of them ; and 
divers of them were by the Lord moved (I know it to 
be so since) to come to me. As I remember, at the ve- 
ry first, they reached to the life of God in me : which 
life answered their voice, and caused a great love in 
me to spring to them ; but still in my reasonings with 
them, and disputes alone (in my mind) concerning them, 
I was very far off from owning them as so knowing the 
Lord, or so appearing in his life and power, as my con- 
dition needed, and as my soul waited for. Yea, the 



ISAAC PENIIfGTON-. 25 

more I conversed with them, the more I seemed in my 
understanding and reason to get over them, and to tram- 
ple them under my feet, as a poor, weak, silly, con- 
temptible generation, who had some smattering of Truth 
in them, and some honest desires towards God : but 
very far off from the clear and full understanding of his 
way and will. And this was the effect almost of every 
discourse with them : they still reached my heart, and 
I felt them in the secrets of my soul ; which caused the 
love in me always to continue, yea, sometimes to in- 
crease towards them ; but daily my understanding got 
more and more over them, and therein I daily more and 
more despised them. After a long time I was invited 
to hear one of them (as I had been often, they in tender 
love pitying me, and feeling my want of that which 
they possessed) : and there was an answer in my heart, 
and I went with fear and trembling, with desires to the 
Most High, who was over all and knew all, that I 
might not receive any thing for truth which was not of 
Him, nor withstand any thing which was of Him : but 
might bow before the appearance of the Lord my God, 
and none other. And, indeed, when I came, I felt the 
presence and power of the Most High among them, and 
words of truth from the spirit of truth reaching to mv 
heart and conscience, opening Yny state as in the pre- 
sence of the Lord. Yea, I did not only feel words and 
demonstrations from without ; but I felt the dead 
quickened, the Seed raised ; insomuch that my heart 
(in the certainty of light, and clearness of true sense) 
said. This is He, this is He, there is no other : this is He 
whom I haveicaitedfor and sought after from my child- 
hood ; who was always near me, and had often begotten 
life in my heart ^ but I knew Him not distinctly, nor how 
to receive Him or dwell with Him. And, then in this 
sense (in the melting and breakings of my spirit) was I 
given up to the Lord, to become his, both in waiting 
for the further revealing of his Seed in me, and to serve 
Him in the life and power of his Seed." 

" Now what I met with after this, in my travails, in 
c 



26 MEMOIRS OP 

my waitings, in my spiritual exercises, is not to be ut- 
tered ; only in general I may say this, I met with the 
very strength of hell. The cruel oppressor roared upon 
me, and made me feel the bitterness of his captivity, 
while he had any power : yea, the Lord was far from 
my help, and from the voice of my roaring. I also met 
with deep subtilties and devices to entangle me in that 
wisdom which seemeth able to make wise in the things 
of God ; but indeed is foolishness, and a snare to the 
soul, bringing it back into captivity, where the ene- 
my's gins prevail. And what I met with outwardly 
from my own dear father, from my kindred, from my 
servants, from the people and powers of the world, for 
no other cause but fearing my God, worshipping Him 
as He hath required of me, and bowing to his Seed, 
which is his Son, who is to be worshipped by men and 
angels for evermore, the Lord my God knoweth, before 
whom my heart and ways are ; who preserved me in 
love to them, in the midst of all I suffered from them, 
and doth still so preserve me ; blessed be his pure and 
holy name. But some may desire to know what I have 
at last met with. I answer, / have met with the Seed. 
Understand that word, and thou wilt be satisfied, and 
inquire no further. I have met with my God ; I have 
met with my Saviour : -and He hath not been present 
with me without his salvation ; but I have felt the heal- 
ings drop upon my soul from under his wings. I have 
met with the true knowledge, the knowledge of life, 
the living knowledge, the knowledge which is life, 
and this hath had the true virtue in it, which my soul 
hath rejoiced in, in the presence of the Lord. 1 have 
met with the Seed's Father, and in the Seed 1 have felt 
him my P'ather. There I have read his nature, his 
love, his compassions, his tenderness, which have melt- 
ed, overcome, and changed my heart before Him. I 
have met with the Seed's faith, which hath done and 
doth that, which the faith of man can never do. I have 
met with the true birth, with the birth which is heir of 
the kingdom, and inherits the kingdom. I have met 
with the true spirit of prayer and supplication, wherein 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 27 

the Lord is prevailed with, and which draws from Him 
whatever the condition needs : the soul always looking 
up to Him in the will, and in the time and way, which 
is acceptable with Him. What shall I say ? I have met 
with the true peace, the true righteousness, the true 
holiness, the true rest of the soul, the everlasting habi- 
tation, which the redeemed dwell in ; and I know all 
these to be true, in Him that is true : and am capable 
of no doubt, dispute, or reasoning in my mind about 
them ; it abiding there where it hath received the full 
jissurance and satisfaction. And also I know very well 
and distinctly in spirit where the doubts and disputes 
are, and where the certainty and full assurance is ; and 
in the tender mercy of the Lord am preserved out of 
the one, and in the other." 

" Now, the Lord knows, these things I do not utter in 
a boasting way ; but would rather be speaking of my 
nothingness, my emptiness, my weakness, my manifold 
infirmities which I feel more than ever. The Lord 
hath broken the man's part in me, and I am a worm 
and no man before Him. I have no strength to do any 
good or service for Him ; nay, I cannot watch over or 
preserve myself. I feel daily that I keep not alive my 
own soul ; but am weaker before men, yea, weaker 
in my spirit, as in myself, than ever I have been. But 
I cannot but utter to the praise of my God, and 1 feel 
his arm stretched out for me : and my weakness, which 
I feel in myself, is not nay loss, but advantage before 
Him. And these things I write, as having no end at all 
therein of my own, but felt it this morning required of 
me; and so in submission and subjection to my God 
have I given up to do it, leaving the success and service 
of it with him." 

'' Aylesbury, l5th 3d Mo. 1667."* 

Though the two preceding papers will serve to show 

* In EUwood's Test, prefixed to Penington's Works, vol. i. p. 
xxxr. 



28 MEMOIRS OF 

many of the toilsome steps, which were trodden by Isaac 
Penington in pursuit of truth ; yet the following will 
probably be an acceptable, and not an usuitable addi- 
tion. It is both descriptive and exhortatory ; it is in 
its tenour, consistent with the others, yet not tautolo- 
gous. One occasion of his sorrows, it more fully de- 
scribes ; the tendency of one tenet on a depressed and 
ingenious mind, it more particularly displays. 

•' My heart from my childhood," says he, " was point- 
ed towards the Lord, whom I feared, and longed after, 
from my tender years : wherein I felt that I could not 
be satisfied with (nor indeed seek after) the things of 
this perishing world, which naturally pass away : 
but I desired true sense of, and unity with, that which 
abideth for ever. There was somev^^hat indeed then 
still within me (even the Seed of eternity) which lea- 
vened and balanced my spirit almost continually ; but 
I knew it not distinctly, so as to turn to it, and give 
up to it, entirely and understandingly." 

" In this temper of mind I earnestly sought after the 
Lord, applying myself to hear sermons, and read the 
best books I could meet with, but especially the scrip- 
tures, which were very sweet and savoury to me. Yea, 
I very earnestly desired and pressed after the know- 
ledge of the Scriptures, but was much afraid of receiv- 
ing men's interpretations of them, or of fastening any 
interpretation upon them myself; but waited much, 
and prayed much, that, from the Spirit of the Lord, I 
might receive the true understanding of them, and that 
He would chiefly endue me with that knowledge, which 
I might feel sanctifying and saving." 

" And indeed I did sensibly receive of his love, of his 
mercy, and of his grace, which I felt still freely to move 
towards me; and at seasons when I was most filled 
with the sense of my own unworthiness, and had least 
expectations of the manifestations of them. But I was 
exceedingly entangled about Election and Reprobation, 
(having drunk in that doctrine, according as it was then 
held forth by the strictest of those that were termed 



ISAAC PENlNGTO.^:. 29 

Puritans ; and as then seemed to be very manifest and 
positive, from Rom. ix. Slc), fearing lest, notwithstand- 
ing all my desires and seekings after the Lord, He 
might in his decree have passed me by ; and I felt it 
would be bitter to me to bear his wrath, and be sepa- 
rated from his love for evermore ; yet, if He had so de- 
creed, it would be, and I should (notwithstanding these 
fair beginnings and hopes) fall away and perish at the 
last." 

" In this great trouble and grief (which was much 
added to by not finding the Spirit of God so in me and 
with me, as I had read and believed the former Chris- 
tians had it,) and in mourning over and grappling with 
secret corruptions and temptations, I spent many years, 
and fell into great weakness of body ; and, often casang 
myself upon rny bed, did wTing my hands and weep 
bitterly: begging earnestly of the Lord daily, that I 
might be pitied by Him, and helped- against my enemies, 
and be made conformable to the image of his Son, by 
his awn renewing power." 

" And indeed at last (when my nature was almost 
spent, and the pit of despair was even closing its mouth 
upon me), mercy sprang, and deliverance came, and 
the Lord my God owned me, and sealed his love unto 
me, and light sprung within me ; which made not only 
the scriptures, but the very outward creatures glorious 
in my eye : so that every thing was sweet and pleasant, 
and lightsome round about me. But 1 soon felt that 
this estate was too high and glorious for me, and I was 
not able to abide in it, it so overcame my natural spi- 
rits. Wherefore, blessing the name of the Lord for his 
great goodness to me, I prayed unto Him to take that 
from me which 1 was not able to bear ; and to give me 
such a proportion of his Hght and presence, as was 
suitable to my present state, and might fit me for his 
service. Whereupon this was presently removed from 
nie ; yet a savour remained with me, wherein 1 had 
sweetness, and comfort, and refreshment for a long sea- 
son." 

c 2 



30 MEMOIRS OP 

" But my mind did not then know how to turn to, 
and dwell with that which gave me the savour ; nor 
rightly to read what God did daily write in my heart ; 
which sufficiently manifested itself to be of Him, by its 
living virtue, and pure operation upon me." 

" But I looked upon the scriptures to be my rule, and 
so would weigh the inward appearances of God to me, 
by what was outwardly written ; and durst not receive 
any thing from God immediately, as it sprang from the 
fountain, but only in that mediate way. Herein did I 
limit the Holy One of Israel, and exceedingly hurt 
my own soul, as I afterwards felt, and came to under- 
stand." 

" Yet the Lord was tender to me, and condescended 
exceedingly, opening scriptures to me freshly every day, 
teaching and instructing, warming and comforting my 
heart thereby. And truly He did help me to pray, 
to believe, and to love Him and his appearances in any ; 
yea, to love all the sons of men, and all his creatures, 
with a true love. But that in me which knew not the 
appearances of the Lord in my spirit, but would limit 
Him to words of Scriptures formerly written, — that 
proceeded yet further, and would be raising a fabric of 
knowledge out of the scriptures, and gathering a per- 
fect rule (as I thought) concerning my heart, my words, 
my ways, my worship : and according to what I thus 
drank in (after this manner from the scriptures.) I prac- 
tised ; and with much seriousness of spirit, and prayer 
to God, fell a helping to build up an independent con- 
gregation, wherein the savour of life and the presence 
of God was fresh with me ; as I believe there are yet 
some alive of that congregation can testify." 

'' This was my state, when 1 was smitten, broken, 
and distressed by the Lord, confounded in my worship, 
confounded in my knowledge, stripped of all in one day 
(which it is hard to utter), and was matter of amazement 
to all that beheld me. I lay open and naked to all that 
would inquire of me, and strive to search out what 
might be the cause the Lord should deal so with me. 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 31 

They would at first be jealous that I had sinned and 
provoked him so to do ; but when they had scanned 
things thoroughly, and I had opened my heart nakedly 
to them, I do not remember any one that ever retained 
that sense concerning me. My soul remembereth the 
wormwood and gall, the exceeding bitterness of that 
state, and is still humbled in me, in the remembrance of 
it before the Lord. Oh ! how did 1 wish with Job, 
that I might come before Him, and bowingly plead with 
Him ; for indeed 1 had no sense of any guilt upon me, 
but was sick of love towards Him, and as one violently 
rent from the bosom of his beloved ! Oh, how gladly 
would I have met with death ! For I was weary all 
the day long, and afraid of the night, and w^eary 
also of the night-season, and afraid of the ensuing 
day." 

" I remember my grevious and bitter mournings to 
the Lord. How often I did say, O Lord, why hast 
Thou forsaken me? Why hast Thou broken me to piec- 
es ? I had no delight hut Thee, no desire after any but 
Thee. My heart was bent zvholly to serve Thee, and 
Thou hast even filed me (as appeared to my sense) by 
many deep exercises and experiences for thy service. 
Why dost Thou rnake me thus miserable ? Sometimes 
I would cast mine eye upon a scripture, and my heart 
would even melt within me. At other times I would 
desire to pray to my God as I had formerly done ; but 
I found 1 knew Him not, and I could not tell how to 
pray, or in any wise to come near Him, as I had for- 
merly done. Li this condition I wandered up and 
down from mountain to hill, from one sort to another, 
with a cry in my spirit, Can ye tell news of my belov- 
ed? Where dolh He dwell? Where doth he appear ? 
But their voices were still strange to me ; and 1 should 
retire sad and oppressed, and bowed down in spirit, 
from them." 

" Now surely, all serious, sober, sensible people will 
be ready to inquire how I came satisfyingly to know 



32 MEMOIRS OT 

the Lord at length: or whether I do yet certainly 
know Him, and am yet truly satisfied." 

" Yes indeed, I am satisfied at my very heart. Tru- 
ly my heart is united to Him whom I longed after, in 
an everlasting covenant of pure life and peace." 

" Well then, how came this about ? will some say. 
Why, thus. The Lord opened my spirit. The Lord 
gave me the certain and sensible feeling of the pure 
Seed, which had been with me from the beginning. 
The Lord caused his holy power to fall upon me, and 
gave me such an inward demonstration and feeling of 
the Seed of life, that I cried out in my spirit, This is 
He, this is He, there is 7iot another, there never was ano- 
ther. He was always near me, though 1 knew Him not, 
(not so sensibly, not so distinctly, as now He was re- 
vealed in me, and to me by the Father). O that 1 giight 
now be joined to Him, and He alone might live in me ! 
And so, in the willingness which God had wrought in 
me (in this day of his power to my soul), I gave up to 
be instructed, exercised, and led by Him, in the waiting 
for and feehng of his holy Seed, that all might be 
wrought out of me which could not live with the Seed, 
but would be hindering the dwelling and reigning of 
the Seed in me, while it remained and had power. And 
so I have gone through a sore travail, and fight of af- 
flictions and temptations of many kinds; wherein the 
Lord hath been merciful to me, in helping me, and pre- 
serving the spark of life in me, in the midst of many 
things which had befallen me, whose nature tended to 
quench and extinguish it." 

" Now thus having met with the true way, and walk- 
ed with the Lord therein, wherein daily certainty, yea, 
and full assurance of faith and of understanding is at 
length obtained, I cannot be silent (true love and pure 
life stirring in me and moving me) but am necessitated 
to testify of it to others; and this is it, — To retire in- 
wardly, and wait to feel somewhat of the Lord, some- 
what of his holy Spirit and power, discovering, and 
drawing from that which is contrary to Him, and into 



ISAAC PENlNGTOPf. 33 

his holy nature and heavenly image. And then, as the 
mind is joined to this, somewhat is received, some true 
life, some true light, some true discerning ; which the 
creature not exceeding, (but abiding in the measure of) 
is safe. But it is easy erring from this, but hard abid- 
ing with it, and not going before its leadings. But he 
that feels life, and begins in life, doth he not begin safe- 
ly ? And he that waits and fears, and goes on no fur- 
ther than his captain goes before him, doth he not pro- 
ceed safely : Yea, very safely, even till he cometh to 
be so settled and established in the virtue, demonstra- 
tion, and power of Truth, as nothing can prevail to 
shake Him." 

•' Now, blessed be the Lord, there are many at this 
day who can truly and faithfully witness, that they 
have been brought by the Lord to this state. And thus 
have we learned of the Lord; to wit, not by the high 
striving, aspiiing mind : but by lying low, and being 
contented with a little. If but a crumb of bread (yet 
if bread), if but a drop of water (yet if water), we 
have been contented with it, and also thankful to the 
Lord for it ; nor by thoughtfulness, and wise searching 
and deep considering with our own wisdom and reason 
have we obtained it ; but in the still, meek, and hum- 
ble waiting, have we found that brought into the death, 
which is not to know the mysteries of God's king- 
dom ; and that which is to live, made alive, and in- 
crease in life.'" 

" Therefore he that would truly know the Lord, let 
him take heed of his own reason and understanding. 
1 tried this way very far, for I considered most serious- 
ly and uprightly. I prayed, I read the scriptures, I 
earnestly desired to understand and find out whether 
that which this people, called Quakers, testified of, was 
the only way and truth of God (as they seemed to me 
but to pretend) : but for all this, prejudices multiplied 
upon me, and strong reasonings against them, which 
appeared to me as unanswerable. But when the Lord 
revealed his Seed in me, and touched my heart there- 



34 MEMOIRS OF 

with, which administered true life and virtue to me, I 
presently felt them there the children of the Most High, 
and so grown up in his life, power, and holy dominion, 
(as the inward eye, being opened by the Lord, sees), 
as drew forth from me great reverence of heart, and 
praises to the Lord, who had so appeared among men 
in these latter days." 

" And as God draweth, in any respect, oh ? give up 
in faithfulness to Him. Despise the shame, take up the 
cross : for indeed it is a way which is very cross to man, 
and which his wisdom will exceedingly be ashamed of : 
but that must be denied and turned from, and the se- 
cret, sensible drawings of God's Spirit waited for and 
given up to. Mind, people, He that will come into the 
new covenant, must come into the obedience of it. 
The light of life, which God hath hid in the heart, is 
the covenant : and from this covenant God doth not 
give knowledge, to satisfy the vast, aspiring, compre- 
hending wisdom of man ; but living knowledge, to feed 
that which is quickened by Him; which knowledge is 
given in the obedience, and is very sweet and precious 
to the state of him that knows how to feed upon it. 
Yea, truly, this is of a very excellent, pure, precious 
nature ; and a little of it weighs down that great, vast 
knowledge in the comprehending part, which the man's 
spirit and nature so much prizeth and presseth af- 
ter." 

" And truly, friends, I witness at this day a great 
difference between the sweetness of comprehending the 
knowledge of things as expressed in the scriptures, 
(this I fed much on formerly) ; and tasting the hidden 
life, the hidden manna in the heart (which is my food 
now, blessed forever be the Lord my God and Saviour). 
Oh ! that others had a true, certain and sensible taste 
of the life, virtue, and goodness of the Lord, as it is re- 
vealed there. Surely it could not but kindle the true hun- 
ger; and inflame the true thirst; which can never be 
satisfied but by the true bread, and by water from the 
living fountain. This the Lord (in the tenderness of 



ISAAC PENINGTOSr. 35 

his love, and in the riches of his grace and mercy) hath 
brought us to ; and this we earnestly and uprightly de- 
sire and endeavour, that others may be brought to al- 
so ; that they may rightly (in the true silence of the 
flesh, and in the pure stillness of spirit) wait for, and in 
the Lord's due time receive, that which answers the 
desire of the awakened mind and soul, and satisfies 
it with the true, precious substance for evermore. 
Amen."* 

More to the import of the three preceding pieces 
may be seen in the preface to Isaac Fenington's tract, 
entitled " Babylon the Great described," published in 
1659, and in another tract the following year respect- 
ing the New England persecution, both of which are 
reprinted in his works. It may not be advisable to in- 
sert them here at length ; yet an extract from the lat- 
ter will sum up the evidence already produced, and 
show him in an amiable view. 

" At first acquaintance with this rejected people, 
that which was eternal of God in me opened, and I did 
immediately in my spirit own them as children of my 
Father, truly begotten of his life by his own Spirit. 
But the wise, reasoning part presently rose up, con- 
tending against their uncouth way of appearance ; and 
in that I did disown them, and continued a stranger to 
them, and a reasoner against them, for about twelve 
months ; and by weighing and considering things in 
that part, was still further and further offfrom discern- 
ing their leadings by the life and Spirit of God into 
those things. But at length it pleased the Lord to draw 
out his sword against that part in me, turning the wis- 
dom and strength thereof backward ; and to open that 
eye in me again, wherewith he had given me to see 
the things of his kingdom in some measure from a child. 
And then 1 saw and felt them grown in that life and 
Spirit, which 1, through the treachery of the fleshly- 
wise part, had been estranged to, and had adulterated 

* Penington's Works, vol. ii. p. 49. 



36 MEMOIRS OF 

from. And now, what bitter days of mourning and la- 
mentation (even for some years since), I have had over 
this, the Lord alone fully knows. Oh ! I have known 
it to be a bitter thing to follow this wisdom, in under- 
standing of scriptures, in remembering of scriptures, in 
remembering of experiences, and in many more in- 
ward ways of workings that many cannot bear to 
hear." 

"The Lord hath judged me for that, and I have 
borne the burden and condemnation of that, which 
many at this day wear as their crown. And now, what 
am 1 at length 1 A poor worm ! Whom can 1 warn 
effectually'^ Whom can I help? Whom can Lstop 
from running into the pit? But though 1 am nothing, 
I must speak, for the Lord draweth and moveth me ; 
and how unserviceable soever my pity be, yet my 
bowels cannot but roll, both towards those that are 
in misery, and those that are runnhig into misery."* 

And here we may pause ; and, having, by the me- 
dium of his own declaration, surveyed the state of Isaac 
Penington's mind, we scarcely need hesitate to acknow- 
ledge that he had attained in no small degree to the 
possession of the grand qualiftcations of a Christian. 
" Now abideth Faith, Hope, Love, these three ; but the 
greatest of these is Love."f Even in his political cha- 
racter, in which men otherwise amiable, are too apt to 
give way to animosity and rancour : even in this, and 
at a time when he had not so deeply penetrated the 
mysteries of' the Christian religion, we have seen him 
invested with its spirit of forbearance and good-will. 



* Vol. i.p. cclvi. 

1 1 have sometimes wondered why the same word (ciyuwi) 
which in the apostle John's writings is by our translators rendered 
love^ should in Paul's be translated chanty. It doubtless conveys 
to some readers the idea of almsgiving. Let any one read the 13th 
chap, of 1st to Corinthians, substituting the word love for charity^ 
and he will probably see the superior aptness of the term ; and be 
almost ready to think that Love is not only the perfection of the 
Law, but of the Gospel also. 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 37 



CHAP. [I. 

Account of Mary Penington — her desire to be able to perform true 
prayer — her written, and extemporaneous prayer — marries Col. 
Springett — her husband's death — refuses to have her child 
sprinkled — seeks solitude, for prayer — yet attends diversions — a 
dream — her habit of trust — cannot pray — another remarkable 
dream — her marriage to f. Penington, and its motives — some 
previous knowledge of Friends — her state of mind when Curtis 
and Simpson visited the family — her conflicts — her joy at the 
first meeting held in I. Penington's house — further account of 
her spiritual state. 

Before we proceed to investigate the further ope- 
ration of religion on the conduct of Isaac Penington, by 
collecting the few and scattered accounts of the scenes 
in which he was engaged, scenes, for the greater part, 
of suffering, it may be desirable to trace a few of the 
steps by which his faithful companion arrived at her 
qualifications to be his help-meet. 

Mary Penington also had been religiously inclined 
from her childhood, and had been brought up in a family 
in which the forms, at least, of religion were observed 
with great strictness. While yet a child she was one 
day much struck with hearing a sermon read, on the 
text, "Pray continually." The writer, among other 
benefits of prayer, had observed that it was an exer- 
cise in which the saints were distinguished from the 
world ; for, though the world could in many things hy- 
pocritically imitate them, yet in prayer it could not. 
This forcibly wrought on her mind, for she knew that 
the printed prayers which she used, were such as the 
world also could use ; and she therefore, with sorrow, 
concluded herself to be yet unacquainted with true 
prayer. When the reader had finished, and she was 
left alone in the room, she threw herself on the bed, 
crying out aloud, Lord, what is prayer ? At this time, 

D 



38 MEMOIRS OF 

she had not long learned to write, and could scarcely 
join her letters ; but, having heard that some persons 
wrote prayers for their own use, she penned one to 
serve her as a morning supplication. The subject of it 
was, that " as the Lord had commanded the Israelites 
to offer up a morning sacrifice, so she offered the sacri- 
fice of prayer, and desired preservation for the day." 
She rested a while in this practice, and wrote two other 
prayers : but doubt crept in here also ; and she began 
,to think true prayer was extemporaneous. Extempo- 
raneous prayer, therefore, she attempted, but found 
that she could not always pray. Sometimes she kneel- 
ed long, but could not utter a word. At length one 
day, she heard of the sentence* of Prynne, Bastwick, 
and Burton, three eminent sufferers in the persecution 
under Archbishop Laud, in the reign of Charles L The 
sad relation of the lot of these men sunk deep into her 
mind, and cries were raised in her for them and all the 
innocent people in the nation. She went into a private 
room, and shutting the door, poured out her soul to the 
Lord (they are her own words) in a vehement manner 
for a considerable time, being wonderfully melted. In 

* This seems to have been the second sentence on those perse- 
cuted men, in the year 1637. Prynne, for writing a book, entitled 
Hiitriomaslix against Plays, Masques, Dancing, «&c. was condemned 
by the Court of Star-Chamber to be degraded from his profession 
of the law, to be pilloried at Westminster and in Cheapside, at each 
place to lose an ear, to be fined £5000., and to suffer perpetual 
imprisonment. Bastwick, a physician, for writing a book called 
Elenchus religionis papistical, with an appendix called Fli gellum 
pontijicis et episcoporum Latialium, was degraded, excommunicated, 
fined £1000., and imprisoned till he should recant. Burton, a par- 
ish priest in London, having published two sermons against the 
late innovations, was committed a close prisoner to the Gatehouse. 
In 1637, all three were again cited to the Star-Chamber for writing 
as was alleged, in prison, seditious, schismatical, and libellous books. 
They were then condemned to have their ears cut off, each fined 
£5000., and each ordered to perpetual imprisonment. Prynne had 
the additional sentence of stigmatizing on both cheeks, and the 
court took care he should again suffer the pain of amputation, 
by ordering the remainder of his stumps to be cut off. Abp. Laud 
was present at passing the sentence. Neal, Hist. Purit. Vol. 2. 



ISAAC PENINGTOPf. ««* 

this, she felt ease, peace, and acceptance, knowing as- 
suredly that this was true prayer. 

Soon after this she entirely refused to join in the 
common prayer read in the family, or to kneel in the 
place of public worship ; but went on foot two or three 
miles, regardless of weather, to hear a puritan minis- 
ter, who prayed extempore. About this time also she 
avoided vain company, declined the use of cards and 
similar amusements, was strict in observance of what 
was termed the Sabbath, and would not even eat on 
that day such things as took up much time to pre- 
pare. 

As she advanced in life she rejected several offers of 
marriage, on account of the want of religion which she 
perceived in her suitors ; and at length married a young 
man of respectable family named Springett; intent, 
like herself, to avoid superstition in religion, and one 
whom long acquaintance had proved worthy of her ac- 
quaintance. She did not live long with her first hus- 
band, who, being a colonel of foot in the parliament ar- 
my, died of a calenture at his quarters near Arundel. 
Mary Springett was with child, at the time of her hus- 
band's death, of her daughter Gulielma Maria, after- 
wards the wife of William Penn, and on her birth the 
usual ceremony of what passes for baptism, appeared 
so objectionable, that she refused to suffer the infant to 
be sprinkled: which brought some reproach on her, 
and made her as a by-word among people of her own 
rank. Her relations also and acquaintance sent such 
as were accounted able ministers, and such as she had 
formerly delighted to hear, to persuade her to comply ; 
but they sent in vain. 

Thus she stood her ground against that which ap- 
peared formal ; but not being herself fully settled in re- 
ligious opinion, she swerved from simplicity, roved from 
one notion to another, and finding no assurance in any, 
at length gave over her religious exercises. " Indeed," 
she says of herself, " I left them not in a loose mind, as 
some judged; for had I found that 1 did perform what 



40 MEMOIRS OF 

the Lord required of me — I should gladly have con- 
tinued in them, being zealously affected this way, in 
fasting often, in private prayer very frequent, rarely 
less than three times a day, many times oftener, a daily 
hearer of sermons upon all occasions, both lectures, fasts, 
and thanksgivings. Most of the day w^as spent in read- 
ing the scriptures, or in praying, hearing, and such like, 
— and so great was my delight in these things, that while 
I believed it my duty, I have many times in the day 
sought solitary places to pray in, as gardens, fields, and 
out-houses, when I could not be private in the house, — 
for so vehement was my spirit, that I could not forbear 
being loud and earnest in pouring out my soul." 

Thus, after her long research, and zeal in whatsoever 
the professors of the day recommended, she did not find 
in herself that real change of heart which she aspired 
after, nor acceptance wdth the Lord. She therefore 
began to conclude, that although the Lord and his 
Truth were unchangeable, yet it was not in her day 
made known to any on the earth. And for some time 
she gave no attention to religjion ; but devoted herself 
to the diversions and pleasures of the world, both in 
public and private. But in the midst of such pursuits 
her heart was still sad ; and she would often retire from 
all company for several days together. Indeed her mind 
was not captivated by the dissipating amusements of 
the age ; for she would often say within herself, of the 
career in which she had engaged, " What is all this to 
me ? I could easily leave those things. They have not 
my heart. My delight is not in them. 1 had rather 
serve the Lord, if indeed I could feel that which per- 
formeth acceptably to him." About this time, having 
retired into the country with her daughter and a maid, 
she went to bed one night very sad and disconsolate, 
through her deep conflict of mind respecting religion. 
She dreamed that she saw a book of hieroglyphics of 
religious things, or of a state that was to come in the 
church ; but she thought that she had no delight in 
them, though they were magnified by those who show- 



ISAAC PEMNGTOPf. 41 

cd them ; but she turned from them greatly oppressed, 
and going apart into a yard sorrowing, and lifting up 
her eyes to heaven, she cried out, Lord, suffer me no 
more to fall into false ways, but show me thy Truth. 
Immediately the sky seemed to open, and bright light, 
like fire, to fall on her hand. She cried aloud and 
awoke, and the maid coming at her cries, found her 
trembling. 

Notwithstanding the state of uncertainty and sorrow, 
she so long experienced (Oh ! saith my soul, that the 
actual uncertainty which thousands are in, about the 
welfare of their souls, might induce them to be sorrow- 
ful also), she had learned in outward matters to be 
careful for nothing, but in all things, as saith the apos- 
tle, to let her requests be made known to God. And 
she frequently received help ; and a confidence in the 
Lord was given to her in that day, when she durst not 
own herself to have any religion that could be called 
true. " If," says she, " I was to take a servant, to re- 
move to any place, or do any thing that concerned my 
outward affairs, I never contrived, but retired to see 
what the day would bring forth, and waited in a firm 
belief that such things would be offered me as I should 
embrace : so that I was not anxious about any worldly 
accommodation; but as things presented, 1 closed in 
with them, if I felt my heart answer: but in things of 
everlasting concern continually hurried and dissatisfied." 
For some years she durst not kneel down, or go to 
prayer, because she thought she could not call God 
Father, in truth, and she feared to mock Him by for- 
mal devotion. Sometimes she was melted into tender- 
ness and tears, but not knowing whence it came, and 
being ready to condemn all appearances of religion, 
she concluded herself under planetary influence, and 
that one planet made her tender, and another harden- 
ed her. She ventured not to suppose that she felt any 
influence of God's Spirit on her heart ; although so great 
was her thirst after it, that she seemed to herself to re- 
semble the parched heath, or the hunted hart panting 
D 2 



42 MEMOIRS OF 

for water. In this state another remarkable dream 
was her lot, a part of which in her own words is as fol- 
lows : " 1 one night dreamt that as I was sitting in a room 
alone, retired and sad, I heard a very loud noise, some 
screaming, yelling, and roaring in a doleful manner; 
some casting up their caps, and hallooing in way of 
triumph and joy. And as I listened to learn what was 
the cause, I thought that Christ was come, and that 
this was the different state of the people at his coming ; 
some in joy, and some in extreme sorrow and amaze- 
ment. Thus I waited in much dread, for uncertainty 
about this thing. At last I found that neither the joy 
nor the sorrow of this confused multitude did arise from 
a certain knowledge of his coming, but it was the effect 
of a false rumour. So I abode in the room solitary, for 
I found I was not to join with either, but to wait in the 
stillness, and not to go forth to inquire concerning the 
tumult of the multitude. While 1 sat thus, all was 
whist, and it was manifest to me that they were mista- 
ken. So I remained cool and low in my mind, until 
one came and said in a low voice, Christ is come indeed, 
and is in the next room, and with the Lamb's wife. At 
which my heart secretly leaped within me, and I was 
in haste to go, and express my love to Him, and joy at 
his coming. But 1 was rebuked for my haste and in- 
structed to be sober, and come cool and softly into the 
next room : which I did. Then I came into a spacious 
hall, but stood at the bottom, trembling : for though I was 
joyed at the thing, yet I durst not go near him ; for it 
was said in me, Stay, and see whether He owns thee, 
and takes thee to be such as thou takest thyself to be. 
Christ stood at the upper end of the hall in the appear- 
ance of a fresh, lovely youth, clad, in grey cloth, very 
neat and plain (at this time 1 had not heard of a Qua- 
ker ; or their garb). He was of a sweet, affable, courte- 
ous carriage ; and I saw him embrace several poor, old, 
simple persons^ whose appearance was very contempti- 
ble and mean, without wisdom or beauty ; from which I 
judged that his wisdom and discretion was great, that 



ISAAC PENINGTON-. 43 

He can, thought I, behold the hidden worth of these 
people, who to me appeared so unlovely and simple. 
At last He beckoned to me to come to Him, at which I 
was veiy glad, but went lowly, and trembling, in much 
solidity, and weightiness of spirit. Then I beheld a 
beautiful young virgin, slender, modest, and grave, in 
plain apparel, becoming and graceful, and her image 
was fully answering his, as a brother and sister."* 

Before the termination of the state of conflict, which 
she had sustained so long, Mary Springett was married 
to Isaac Penington. Her regard was attracted to him, 
because, as has been hinted, she perceived that he had 
discovered the deceit of all mere notions: that, like 
herself, he refused to be comforted by any form of reli- 
gion, and was unwilling to rest satisfied short of a heart- 
felt experience of the power. In this concern they 
united, and on her part there was a sincere desire to 
to be serviceable to him, in his disconsolate condition. 
Thus they Hved together, until the visit from the stran- 
ger already mentioned. But previously to this, Mary 
Penington had heard of a people which had lately arisen 
in the North, and were called Quakers. Consistently, 
however, with her plan of doubting all professions, she 
resolved not to inquire after them or their principles ; 
so that it was a year or more before she knew any 
thing of them, except that they used the singular num- 
ber in speaking to a single person. She had also seen 
a book of George Fox written in the plain style, which 
she accounted ridiculous ; and she had likewise heard 
some false and calumnious reports. She held this peo- 
ple therefore in contempt; nevertheless she often had 
a secret desire to be with them when they prayed. 
The reader may recollect that to be acquainted with 



* Three thing's are remarkable in this dream, and particularly 
so in one of a person whose future allotment was with J-riends. 
The stillness proper for coming to Christ, his simpliciiy of appear, 
ance, and the strict rcBcmblunce which the virgin (the Church) 
bore to him. 



44 MEMOIRS OF 

the genuine spirit of prayer, was one of her earliest de- 
sires ; and she now thought that if she were present in 
the time of prayer, she could feel whether they were 
of the Lord or not. But she forbore to gratify this in- 
clination, because she knew not how to attend their 
meetings undiscovered ; and if it should be known, she 
feared that it would be reported, she was inclin- 
ed to their way, while she herself had no such inten- 
tion. 

It has been already mentioned that Mary Penington 
has. left some account of the particulars, so far at least 
as they affected herself, of the conference with Thomas 
Curtis and William Simpson. Her own words will best 
delineate the situation of her mind at that juncture. 
" My mind," says she, " was somewhat affected with the 
man who had discoursed" [with] " us the night before 
(that is, the man who had spoken to her husband and 
herself over the park pales) ; for though I judged him 
weak in managing what he pretended to, yet he men- 
tioned many weighty scriptures, which dwelt with me, 
proving from them many things to be right, which 1 was 
not in the practice of; and others to be wrong, which 1 
was practising ; and indeed it made me very serious, and 
quite disposed to hear with attention what these men" 
(Curtis and Simpson) " should say. Their weighty and 
solid carriage brought a dread over me, for they came in 
the authority and power of the Lord : insomuch that all 
that were in the room were sensible of the Lord's power 
manifested in them. Thomas Curtis mentioned this scrip- 
ture, which at once stopped all my inquiries and objec- 
tions. * He that doeth my will shall know of my doctrine 
whether it be of God.'* It immediately arose in my 
mind, if 1 will know whether this is the truth which 
they have spoken, I must do whatsoever is manifested 



=♦ This is not correctly quoted. "My doctrine is not mine, but 
his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of 
tho doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." 
John, vii. 16, 17. 



ISAAC PENINGTOJf. 45 

to be the will of God. And what was contrary to the 
Lord in me was clearly set before me, and I saw that it 
must be removed before I could be capable of judging 
rightly of their principles. This wrought much in me, 
to obey what I knew was my present business. I now 
found that my vain incHnations and propensities were 
much stronger than I imagined, and that those things 
which I thought I had treated with indifference, had 
yet great power over me. Terrible was the day of the 
Lord against all my vain and evil imaginations. This 
made me continually cry out and mourn, both day and 
night : and if I did cease a Httle, then I was, on the 
other hand, distressed with fears, lest I should be again 
reconciled to those things which I felt the judgment of 
God was upon, and which I had a destestation of. Then 
I cried to the Lord that I might not be left in a quiet and 
secure state, till all the evil that lodged in my heart 
was wrought out. Many times hath this scripture 
been revived in my remembrance, ' Ye will not come 
to me, that ye might have life.' Then was the sense of 
my own unwillingness to bear the cross of Christ so 
strongly impressed on my mind, that I w^as ready to 
say. It is true 1 am undone if I come not unto thee : but 
1 will not come, for if I do, I must leave that which 
cleaveth close to me, and I cannot part with it."— — 
" I clearly saw my unwillingness to forsake my beloved 
lusts that I might come unto Him for life ; but still upon 
every painful conflict this was in my mind. That al- 
though such severe discipline seemed more than I 
could bear, yet that the wrath of God was greater, and 
w^ould be more intolerable. I set myself against taking 
up the cross to the language, fashions. Customs, and 
honours of the world ; for indeed my station and con- 
nections in life made it very hard : but I never had 
peace or quiet in my mind till the Lord, by the stroke 
of his judgments, brought me off from all these things, 
which 1 found the light to manifest deceit and bondage 
in. Yet thus to become a fool, and lose my reputation 
in the world, cost me m.any tears, many wakeful nights 



46 MEMOIRS OF 

and sorrowful days ; but as I at length gave up, and 
laid aside my reasonings with flesh and blood, 1 receiv- 
ed strength and went to the meetings of those people" 
(Quakers) " and found them truly of God. And my 
heart honoured them, and longed to be one of them ; 
judging it w^orth my cost and pains, if I could witness 
such a change as I saw in them, and such a power over 

their corruptions." " As I continued to take up 

the cross, 1 received strength against many things that 
1 had not thought possible to deny." — " But O ! the joy 
that filled my soul at the first meeting we had at our 
then habitation at Chalfont, which I still retain a fresh 
and living sense of, That the Lord had given me to live, 
and worship Him in that Spirit that was undoubtedly his 
ovm, that 1 needed not to put a stop to my spirit in it ; but 
swim in the life and give up my own strength to that 
which then melted and overcame me. O how long, and 
how earnestly had I desired thus to worship God, in full 
assurance of acceptance, and lift up my hands without 
doubting ! That day, and in the assembly, my spirit ac- 
knowledged to the Lord the greatness, and wonderful- 
ness of his rich mercy : and I was enabled to say. This 
is what I have loaited for ; though 1 feared 1 never 
should have seen that which the Lord owned and 
witnessed his blessed acceptance in assembling to- 
gether. 

" Many are the trials I have met with ; but as they 
came by the Lord's ordering, they have not hurt me, 
but rather tended to strengthen me in the divine life. 
Once my mind sustained great hurt by running out into 
prejudice against some friends; nevertheless, after a 
time of deep and unknown sorrow, the Lord removed 
this thing, gave me a clearness in his sight, and restor- 
ed me to love and acceptance with his beloved ones. 
And he hath many times refreshed my soul in his pre- 
sence, and given me an assurance that I knew that 
state, in which he would never leave me, nor suffer me 
to be drawn from him. And though infirmities beset 
me ; yet my heart cleaveth to the Lord, in the bond of 



ISAAC PKNINGTOxV. 47 

everlasting love which cannot be broken ; and his di- 
vine strength supports me. Being sensible of my infir- 
mities I bemoan myself unto Him, feeling that faith 
which gives victory, and keeps me low in a sense of my 
own weakness ; yet quickens me in a lively hope of 
seeing satan trodden under my feet, by the grace of 
God, which is all-sufficient. For I feel and know where 
my help Ueth ; and when I slip in word or thought, I 
know my advocate ; and, having recourse to him, feel 
pardon and healing : going on to overcome, watching 
against that which easily besets me. And I do believe 
the enemy cannot prevail over me ; although he is suf- 
fered to prove me, that I might keep continually on the 
watch, and place my whole dependence on the Lord, 
who only can make war with the dragon. And by this 
discovery of my own weakness, I am also taught to be 
tender of the tempted. Sweet is this state, though 
low : for in it 1 receive my daily bread, which is 
given of the Lord ; for I cannot live to him, but as 
he breathe th the breath of life upon me every mo- 
ment." 



48 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAP. III. 



Reproaches and insults bestowed on I. and M. Penington — extract 
of a letter to his father — a visit from the family of Ell wood — the 
alteration in that of I. P. — its effects — a second visit at which the 
younger Ellwood is convinced — M. Penington pleads for him 
with his father, and takes him to Chalfont. First imprisonment 
of Isaac Penington — his letter from prison to T. Ellwood — the 
manner of his confinement — his emplo^yment — his piece "Con- 
cerning the Magistrate's protection of the innocent" — release — 
apprehended again but not imprisoned — is the means of intro- 
ducing Ellwood, as reader, to Milton — engages him as tutor to 
his children — some extracts from his writings — -second imprison- 
ment — third imprisonment, having been taken into custody 
whilst attending the burial of a Friend — his cheerfulness in pri- 
son — release — fourth imprisonment — plague in the jail — released 
— soon imprisoned a fifth time — his letter to the Earl of Bridge- 
water — his health impaired — his release — letter to a Friend — to 
George Fox — to Friends of Amersham. 

On the change thus wrought in the outward de- 
meanor, as well as in the inward principles, of this 
pious pair, they had to endure many cruel reproaches 
from their relations, acquaintance, neighbours, and even 
from their servants. They became, to use the strong 
phrase of scripture, " a wagging of the head," and were 
accounted as fools, mad, or bewitched. They were 
even stoned and abused, in towns whither they went to 
attend meetings ; and this too, at a time when the na- 
tion was enjoying, (or rather rioting in) that liberty of 
conscience which had been so much restrained in the 
reign of Charles I. and by the power of his persecuting 
prelates. 

The few particulars of the domestic economy of Isaac 
Penington, and of his sufferings on account of his new 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 49 

profession, not obtained from the manuscript of his 
wife, from which the sketch of her conversion has been 
drawn, are chiefly to be found in the journal of Tho- 
mas Ellwood (a work remarkable for its lively narra- 
tion, which almost depicts as well as describes) ; and 
in the testimony of the same Friend to the memory of 
Penington, prefixed to the collection of his works. 
There is, however, in a manuscript collection of the 
letters of Isaac Penington, taken from a larger collect- 
ion copied out by his son, one written not far from the 
time of his joining with the Society of Friends, namely, 
in the year 1658, and addressed to the alderman his 
father. From this 1 propose to make a copious ex- 
tract, seeing so far as it shews the kind of opposi- 
tion, which he met with, from a parent whom he 
appears to have tenderly loved, it may be considered 
as a part of his history. 

" Ah ! dear father, 
" Why dost thou so often give me occasion of mourn- 
ing before the Lord, of hard and unrighteous charges 
from thee? How ofteii have I solemnly professed that 
there never was any desire in me, nor endeavours used 
by me, to draw my father into this way ! which my 
father will not equally consider ; but will have his own 
apprehension go for granted ! All that is in my soul is 
this, that my father might have the true knowledge of 
Christ, and not set up another thing in the stead of it." 

he amplifies this wish, which I abbreviate, 

" My father lays down three reasons why he cannot be- 
lieve this way to be of God." 

" 1. God's way is a zoay of love, peace, and unity.'''' 
" Answer. If my father had that eye which can see 
the things of God, and did apply himself to look there- 
with, he might see that peace, that love, that unity, 
among this people, which other men do but talk of; 
but if he take things by the report of the enemies both 
to God and them, he shall be sure to hear and believe 
bad enough. They have no war with arify thing but 



50 MEMOIRS OF 

unrighteousness; and with that they cannot have 
peace, no, not in their dearest relations. They love the 
souls of their enemies, and think no pains of hazard 
too great for the saving of them. Being persecuted, 
they bless ; being reviled, they entreat, and pray for 
their persecutors. They are at unity with whatever 
is of God ; but with the seed of the serpent, they can- 
not be at unity — for the spirit of the scribes and phari- 
sees is now in the world ; and the spirit of Christ and 
his apostles is also in the world ; and they cannot but 
fight, each with their [its] proper weapons ; the one 
with stocks, whips, fines, prisons, &c. : the other with 
the spiritual armour of Christ. Thus the one of these 
wrestles with flesh and blood, fights with the creature, 
hurts that ; the other loves the creature, seeks the sav- 
ing of it, and fights only with the power of darkness, 
which rules the creature." 

" And this peace, this love, this unity, they attain, 
not by their own strivings after it, but by receiving it 
from above. Indeed all our religion lies in receiving a 
gift : without which, we are nothing, and can do no- 
thing : and in which, nothing is too hard for us." 

"2. God's way is a way of humility.'''' 

" Answer. If they had not been broken and hum- 
bled by God, they covild never have entered into this 
way ; which is that which the lofty, fleshly part ab- 
hors. Nor is this a voluntary humility : but a humility 
which crosseth and breaketh the will all the day 
long." 

" 3. That God is a God of order, not of confusion.'''' 

" Answer. Blessed be the Lord, who hath recover- 
ed some of the true churches' order for us; and deliver- 
•ed out of the confusion of antichrist. We know order 
in the light, order in the Spirit, order in Christ, the 
truth : but that which man in his wisdom, calls order, 
is but antichrist's order, which, with God, is confusion. 
To have man's spirit speak and God's Spirit stopt, this 
is the order of all the antichristian congregations and 
churches ; but to have man's spirit stopt and God's Spi- 



ISAAC PEXI.VGTOX. 51 

rit speak, this is the order of Christ's church ; and this 
order we know, and rejoice in." 

" My father doth not beheve that Mr. Gurdtn (as 
the world calls Jiim), or any other godly man, doth per- 
secute them for their consciences^'' 

" Answer. 1 know no godly man can persecute. The 
lamb never did worry the wolf. But the grossest 
persons [qu. if not originally persecutors'] will not ac- 
knowledge that they persecute for conscience : but ac- 
cuse those whom they persecute, for evil-doers, and say 
they sutfer as evil doers. Cannot my father see the 
narrowness of this covering ? — Would the Scribes, and 
Pharisees, and zealous among the Jews, confess that 
they put Christ and Stephen to death for conscience ? 
The eye of that spirit is as blind now as it was then : 
it cannot see its own deceit." 

" The last part of the letter consists of very harsh 
and unrighteous charges, mixed with bitter expressions, 
which I shall pass over — only I confess it is somewhat 
hard to one part of me, that my own father should deal 
thus with me." 

" About having comfort in me, and wishing me more 
comfort in my son, I must needs say this. There is a 
part which God hath struck at, and is destroying, and I 
have no comfort here, and that is able to yield little 
comfort to any one else. — U I w^ere in any formal way 
of religion, 1 might be a comfort to my father, (for he 
could be gratified with that, or at least bear with 
that) ; but because the Lord hath seized upon my heart 
hy the power of his Truth, and I can bow to none but 
him, (no, not to my most dear father), now 1 am no com- 
fort. 1 am sure I have had little comfort all my days, 
in seeing my father's course of religion, which I ever 
could testify of, as not being of God (yea, my late dear 
mother would often bewail it to me) ; and many times 
have I poured out my soul before the Lord. — Yet hear 
my words, O my father, hear my words. O ! pierce 
into the nature of things. Set not up shadows instead 
of the truth. Wait for the gift. Receive the true 



52 MEMOIRS OF 

love, the true peace, the true unity, the true humility, 
(which lies not in the will, but destroys the will), and 
we shall soon know one another, and have comfort in 
one another." 

-' 14th of 12th Month, 1658." 

Thomas Ellwood relates that he accompanied his 
father on a visit to Isaac and Mary Penington, soon 
after the alteration in their manners, when they lived 
on their own estate at Chalfont. The commencement 
of the acquaintance had been some years before, when 
the elder Ellwood had contracted a friendship with 
Mary, then called Lady Springett. It had afterwards 
continued with both her and Isaac Penington ; and this 
visit seems to have been the first, since they had come 
to reside in Buckinghamshire. The visitors were much 
surprised, on their arrival, to find that their friends were 
no longer the courtly persons they had known them to 
be ; but had become Quakers, a people of which the 
EUwoods had no knowledge, and a name of which they 
had before scarcely heard. Their reception was with 
so strict a gravity, as disappointed their expectations of 
the pleasant visit that they had promised to them- 
selves ; and as there were other visitors in the house, 
they found no opportunity of endeavouring to gratify 
their curiosity, by inquiring the occasion of the change. 
Mary Penington's daughter Gulielma had also embraced 
the profession of Friends ; and Thomas Ellwood, who 
had been acquainted with her from childhood, and had 
been her play-fellow at that age, endeavoured to en- 
gage her as usual in familiar conversation. But the 
gravity of her deportment, though her behaviour to him 
was still courteous, perplexed him, struck a kind of awe 
upon him, and induced him to retire with some confu- 
sion of mind. When dinner was serv^ed, it was still 
what is termed very handsome, and wanted nothing 
to recommend it but mirth and free conversation; 
which the visitors could not have with their serious en- 
tertainers, nor, because of them, with each other. The 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 53 

weightiness which was on the spirits, and appeared on 
the countenances of the friends, kept down the levity 
of their visitors. Yet Isaac Penington was far, if we 
may trust his writings, from being a morose man. But 
levity is hostile to true religion, and the man who has 
found and purchased the pearl, does not want the tri- 
fling joy of convivial gaiety. 

But the visit, though it turned out so different to ex- 
pectation, seems to have had the effect of rendering the 
elder visitor, who was then in the commission of the 
peace, less prejudiced against Friends, when they came 
in his way. This he soon after evinced, by Releasing a 
young man, who had been apprehended for speaking a 
few words to a priest, after the sermon and prayers were 
ended, at an adjacent village. 

It was not very long before the family of Ellwood 
made another visit at Chalfont. They staid several 
days, and attended a meeting in the neighbourhood with 
the family, at which Thomas Ellwood was convinced ; 
but, as it is not the object of this work to write the his- 
tory of this Friend, who has himself done it so ably and 
agreeably, the visit is chiefly mentioned to show the 
practice of Isaac Penington : namely, in the long even- 
ings of winter, to call in the servants who were Friends, 
and to sit together in silence. At least this was done 
at the period of the visit in question. 

It is natural, for there is that which may be called 
the nature of spiritual things, it is natural for the hum- 
ble mind which has long endured conflict, and has been 
brought through it, not by any inherent strength of its 
own, to pity those who are still sustaining the warfare ; 
and to be greatly desirous of stretching out to them the 
hand of support. Thus it was with Mary Penington. 
In a visit at the house of Ellwood she observed the suf- 
ferings of the son from the temper of the father, on the 
occasion of remaining covered before him. She remem- 
bered what her husband had suffered from his ov^'n fa- 
ther, on a hke account ; and she also remembered that 
the relation of it to her friend Ellwood had drawn from 



54 MEMOIRS OF 

him, at a time when he did not expect it to be his own 
case, a heavy censure on the alderman. She had 
therefore the opportunity of offering some arguments 
on behalf of the son, not easily to be evaded by the fa- 
ther. Added to this intercession, she desired and ob- 
tained thefather'spermission, that young Ellwood should 
return with her and her husband in the coach, and re- 
main with them awhile at Chalfont. Great indeed was 
the love and the kindness of Isaac and Mary Penington 
to Thomas Ellwood, while he remained in the family. 
They were as affectionate parents to him, and as 
tender nurses in his state of religious childhood. Besides 
their seasonable counsels, and exemplary conversation, 
they furnished him with the means of going to other 
meetings of Friends in the country, when no meeting 
was held at their house. And Thomas Ellwood asserts 
that the time he passed in their company was so well 
spent, that it not only afforded him great satisfaction to 
his mind, but in good measure turned to his spiritual 
advantage in the truth. If the woe be attached to 
those who offend the Httle ones that believe ; surely the 
blessing will rest on the heads of such as, through their 
love to the Lord, are sedulous to comfort them. 

Hitherto Isaac Penington had escaped what may be 
termed judicial suffering. It is possible, the rank his 
father, the alderman, held in the republic might have 
its share in procuring him this exemption. But on the 
restoration of Charles II. such a motive had it ever ex- 
isted, would fail to operate ; and the frantic insurrec- 
tion of the Fifth-monarchy men soon gave the spirit of 
persecution a pretext for harrassing the dissenters. 
The first notice we have of any imprisonment of Isaac 
Penington is in the Account of Friends' sufferings, in 
8vo.* : where, under the head Buckinghamshire, in the 
year 1660, it is briefly said that "Five, namely, Isaac 
Penington, George Salter, Thomas Pewsey, William 



* An Abstract of the Sufferings of the People Called Quakers, 
&c. 1738, vol. ii. 



ISAAC PENINGTOy. 55 

Sexton, and Edward Barton, were apprehended by the 
constables when together, and sent to prison for such 
meeting." The prison was the county goal at Ayles- 
bury, in which we find them remaining on the 30th 
11th month (answering to that called January) 1660; 
together with sixty two others who were chiefly com- 
mitted for refusing to swear the oath of allegiance ; 
but who had for the more part, been taken up when 
meeting peaceably together. There is a short letter 
which Isaac Penington wrote during this imprisonment 
to his young friend Ellwood, then also in confinement at 
Oxford. It may serve in this place as a specimen of 
Isaac Penington's mind in the estimating of sufferings, 
and of the unabated care and affection which he bore 
to Thomas Ellwood. 



" Dear Thomas, 
" Great hath been the Lord's goodness to thee in 
calHng thee out of that path of vanity, and death, 
wherein thou wast running toward destruction ; to give 
thee a living name, and an inheritance of life, among 
his people ; which certainly will be the end of thy faith 
in Him, and obedience to Him. And let it not be a light 
thing in thine eyes that He now accounteth thee wor- 
thy to suffer among his choice lambs, that he might 
make thy crown weightier, and thine inheritance the 
fuller. O that that eye and heart may be kept open 
in thee, which knoweth the value of these things ! and 
that thou mayest be kept close to the feeling of the life, 
that thou mayest be fresh in thy spirit in the midst of 
thy sufferings, and mayest reap the benefit of them ; 
finding that pared off thereby which hindereth the bub- 
blings of the everlasting springs, and maketh unfit for 
the breaking forth and enjoyment of the pure power ! 
This is the brief salutation of my dear love to thee, which 
desireth thy strength and settlement in the power ; and 
the utter weakening of thee, as to thyself. My love is 



56 MEMOIRS or 

to Iheej with dear Thomas Goodyare, and the rest of 
the imprisoned Friends." 

" I remain thine in the Truth, to which 
the Lord my God preserve me single 
and faithful. 

"I. P." 

" From Aylesbury Goal, 14th of 12th month, 1660." 

Isaac Penington remained in prison a part of the fol- 
lowing year ; and from Ellwood, who having gained his 
liberty, sometimes visited him in prison, we learn some 
of the particulars of his treatment there ; to estimate 
which rightly, it should be noticed that he was of a ten- 
der habit of body ; and his education and manner of life 
had been those of a gentleman. 

Most of the sixty-three prisoners were kept in an old 
room behind the goal, which had once been a malt- 
house, but, says Ellwood, then decayed, and scarcely fit 
for a dog-house. It was also so insecure, that the pri- 
soners might have escaped ; and it was, probably, the 
confidence placed in them, which procured for them 
this incommodious lodging. Isaac Penington, whether 
his lodging were in this or another room, for Ellwood in 
his testimony, calls it a cold and very incommodious 
room without a chimney, contracted so much disease, his 
durance being in winter, that for several weeks after he 
was unable to turn himself in bed. There is something 
animating in the cheerfulness with which our early 
friends underwent the rigours of confinement ; of which, 
so far as relates to Isaac Penington, proof will be given 
as we proceed. 

In this confinement he wrote his piece entitled, 
" Somewhat spoken to a weighty question, concerning 
the Magistrate's Protection of the Innocent ; wherein 
is held forth the Blessing and Peace, which nations 
ought to wait for and embrace in the latter days," 4to., 
2 sheets. To undertake an outline of Penington's tracts 
would be difiicult, and yet I am inclined to give some 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 57 

strokes of this, as it first falls in my way to notice. He 
pleads for an exemption from fighting, for such as are 
redeemed from the spirit of the world to the spirit of 
the gospel. " How can he fight with creatures in whom 
is love and good will towards those creatures; and 
whose bowels are rolling over them because of their 
wanderings in the lusts, in the strife, and in the wars ]" 
Yet he asserts the duty of the magistrate to protect not 
only those who are unable through weakness, but such 
as are forbidden, by motives of gospel good-will, to fight 
for themselves. He thus obviates the fear some have 
had, that a nation of peaceful Christians would be in- 
vaded and ruined. Such a thing must have a begin- 
ning before it can be perfected. Whoever would see 
this lovely thing brought forth in the general, must 
cherish it in the particular. It is not for a nation com- 
ing into the gospel-principle to take care beforehand 
how it shall be preserved : but the Gospel will teach 
a nation, as well as a particular person to trust the 
Lord, and wait on Him for preservation. He condemns 
not, yea, he appears even to be too liberal in allowing, 
to the magistrate the use of the sword, in repelling in- 
vasion or rebellion : but he declares there is a better 
state, yea, saith he, it is far better to know the Lord to 
he the defender, and to wait on Him daily, than to be 
ever so strong and skilful in weapons of war. He in- 
stances the case of the Egyptians, of Sennacherib, and 
of the enemies of Israel, who were restrained, while 
Israel went to appear before the Lord. " Will he not,'' 
says Penington, " defend that nation whom He teach- 
eth to leave olf war ?" The work has several divisions. 
In one of them he states what the Friends desire with 
reference to government. 1. Universal liberty for all 
sorts to worship, as Christ shall open men's eyes to see 
the truth. 2. That no laws contrary to equity may 
remain in force, nor any be made but agreeably to 
equity. There is also a lively address " To such as 
have felt the power of the endless life drawing ; and 
have faithfully followed the Leader of the flock of 



68 



MEMOIRS OF 



Israel," &c. This has the date of his prison-house, 
"From Aylesbury prison in Bucks, where my life 
breathes for the consolation and redemption of God's 
Israel, and for the turning of the captivity of the whole 
creation." The following prayer concludes the pam- 
phlet. 

" O God of love, who knowest the value and price 
of souls, pity thy poor creatures, and put a stop to this 
course of perishing, wherein so many multitudes are 
overtaken, and pass down to the pit unawares. O thy 
bowels, thy bowels, thy wonderful bowels ! Let them 
roll in Thee, and work mightily, and, in the strength 
of thy compassions, bring forth thy judgment and thy 
mercy among the sons of men. Build up the tents of 
Sem : persuade Japhet to dwell therein : and let Ca- 
naan become a servant. Preserve the feet of thy 
saints for ever. Shut up and silence the wicked one in 
';he darkness. Let not his strength or subtilty prevail 
against Thee or thine any more; but let the fresh 
power of thy life, and the virtue of thy incomprehensi- 
ble love, redeem, fill, possess, and make glad the heart 
of thy creation for ever. Amen. Amen." 

After Isaac Penington was discharged from this im- 
prisonment, he went again to reside at his house at 
Chalfont, in which there was generally held a meeting 
twice in the week ; but one First-day in four, there 
was a more general meeting, to which most of the 
Friends of the neighbouring meetings usually resorted. 

At one of these general meetings were present be- 
ssdesthe neighbouring Friends,* a brother of Isaac Pen- 
ington, named William, who was a merchant of Lon- 
don, and with him a Friend of Essex : there was also 
the noted George Whitehead of Westmoreland, a man 
inured to suffering, Thomas Ellwood, and one John Ovy, 
a baptist teacher, who had desire'd to become acquaint- 
ed with. Isaac Penington. These came on the preced- 
ing day, and were entertained in his hospitable man- 
sion. The meeting had not long been gathered, and 
was sitting in great stillness and composure, when a 



ISAAC PENmQtOJf. 59 

party of horse made its appearance, and the two Pen- 
ingtons, the Essex Friend, George Whitehead, Thomas 
EUwood, and three or four more were taken into cus- 
tody, and immediately conveyed to a magistrate who 
resided at a considerable distance. The remainder 
held their meeting without further molestation. 

This seems to have been an arrest made conforma- 
bly to a proclamation forbidding^ the meetings of dis- 
senters ; which had been issued in consequence of the 
rising of the Fifth monarchy men ; but neither the 
commander of the soldiers, Matthew Archdale of Wy- 
comb, nor the magistrate, William Boyer of Denhem, 
appear to have been inclined to persecution. One show- 
ed his lenity by apprehending so few ; the other by find- 
ing, or contriving, means for discharging those few. He 
considered Isaac Penington as but at home in his own 
house ; his brother and the Essex man, as naturally on 
a visit, and the neighbouring Friends as persons whom 
he could easily send for. These therefore he dismis- 
sed ; but he could find no such excuse for EUwood and 
Whitehead, whom therefore he threatened to commit ; 
but at length suffered them, as it was too late in the 
day to send them to Aylesbury, to return home with 
Isaac Penington, on promise of being ready at his house 
in the morning ; when he took care not to send for 
them, or molest them any more. 

It was not long after this event that Isaac Penington 
found means to introduce EUwood as a reader to the 
poet Milton, who had then lost bis sight : which cir- 
cumstance is probably interesting to the literary world, 
as EUwood was the cause of his writing the poem called 
Paradise Regained. This fixed EUwood in London, by 
which means in the year 1662, he underwent imprison- 
ment both in Bridewell and Newgate .• and after his 
release became Latin tutor to the chUdren of Isaac 
Penington. Penington was esteemed curious and skil- 
ful in pronunciation, and was very desirous to have his 
children well grounded in their native tongue. For this 
purpose he had procured for them a very accurate 



60 MEMOIRS OP 

teacher, who performed his office to the satisfaction of 
his employer : but as he aimed no higher, and a suc- 
cessor more learned had not yet been found, Isaac 
Penington, who then being in ill health kept his cham- 
ber, requested Ellwood to enter his children in the ru- 
diments of Latin. He complied ; but, instead of a tem- 
porary, became a permanent tutor, and staid near seven 
years in the family. 

From the time of Isaac Penington's release in the 
early part of 1661, it doth not appear that he was mo- 
lested on account of his religious principles, until the 
year 1664; but though he himself was at liberty, he 
did not forget his fellow-prisoners whom he had left, or 
who had since his release been committed to prison at 
Aylesbury; for in the 7th month of the year 1661, he 
went to visit them in their confinement ; and whilst 
with them, wrote the following letter to king Charles 
II. 

" O King, 
" The Lord God of heaven and earth is mighty, who 
hath often and greatly shaken this nation already ; and 
this I have observed, that the seeming settlements, 
which hitherto have been, since the Lord began to 
shake, have been but preparative to a further shaking 
and dissettling. O! happy wert thou, if thou couldst 
wait for, and receive, such a guidance from God, as 
that thy government might be so pure, peaceable, and 
righteous, as it might need no further shaking by his 
hand. God sometime raiseth man from a low estate, 
and exalteth him ; but if he forget the Lord, and his 
heart be Hfted up, he is able to bring him down again. 
O ! fear the Lord in the days of thy prosperity, and let 
thy heart be abased before Him, and sensible of the 
need of his preservation. Indeed, it is a hard matter 
to govern these kingdoms aright, as the state now 
stands. Thou mayst easily err and dash upon the 
rocks. O that the pure eye were open in thee; where- 
by thou mightest see that as thou didst not gain these 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 61 

kingdoms by policy or strength ; so neither canst thou 
retain them by those means, but only by the good 
pleasure of Him who hath all the earth at his dispose ! 
I beseech thee, in that tender love I bear to thee, take 
heed of going about to plant what the Lord hath 
plucked up ; or of endeavouring to pluck up what the 
Lord hath planted. If thou lookest with man's eye, 
thou canst not see what God is doing in the world : and 
so mayst easily run a course contrary to his will, and 
eternal counsel : and O how hazardous must this needs 
be to thee ! The eternal peace of thy soul with God 
for ever, and thy prosperity, depend upon thy knowing 
the counsel of the Lord, and upon thy obedience there- 
unto. O ! retire from this world's baits, snares, temp- 
tations, allurements and vanities ; which draw out and 
defile the mind ; and retreat inward, that the Lord may 
teach thee his fear, and preserve thee from those lusts 
and desires of the fleshly mind, which, being hearkened 
to and followed, are very dangerous to the soul, and 
may prove perilous outwardly also. What shall my 
love say to thee ? O that the Lord would speak to thee 
in spirit, and give thee an car to hear, that thou 
mightest be happy now and forever. Often have my 
bowels rolled over thee exceedingly, even in the day of 
thy adversity, and since thy prosperity. O that thou 
couldest remember God daily, and forget this world ! 
Remember the years of thy affliction ; and make use of 
the present day with an humble heart, and with a bro- 
ken spirit. O ! do nothing to provoke the Lord against 
thee ; for surely his eye is upon thee, and his heart 
pondereth all thy ways. And bow before him for his 
counsel, that thou mayest not arise against thy Maker, 
as the foregoing powers have done ; for if He rise up 
in battle against thee, thou wilt no more be able to 
stand before Him than they were. Nay, the stronger 
thou art outwardly settled, the greater will the glory 
of his name be in overturning thee. O that thou might- 
est rule under God, and for God ! and not with that 
wisdom, and with those self-ends, and interests, which 
r 



62 MEMOIRS OF 

are not of Him, and cannot but be against Him. I 
cannot but desire thy good ; yea, the very breathings 
of my heart to the Lord have been often for thee ; and 
upon that account singly do I write thus to thee : be- 
seeching the Lord, if it be his pleasure, that when that 
work which is necessary to be done is finished, thine 
eyes may be opened to see the way of righteous go- 
vernment in the true light. 

" From one who mourns over the misery 
of mankind, longing for the redemp- 
tion of those that go astray, and a true 
lover of thy soul. 

"L P." 

" Aylesbury prison, where I am visiting 
some of my dear Friends in God's 
eternal truth, 17th 7 mo. 1661." 

There is to this letter a postscript of nearly the same 
length. The beginning and the conclusion, with some 
of the intermediate parts, are as follows : — 

" Let thy government be like unto God's : even a yoke 
to the unjust, but liberty to the just. O, when shall 
the cry of the innocent cease, throughout all thy bor- 
ders ? Restore unto the Lord his dominion over men's 
consciences, while it is in the power of thine hand to do 
it. — O ! seek after love, meekness, righteousness, ten- 
derness, towards all thy subjects : which hath God's 
blessing with it, and is the way to win all their hearts 
towards thee. And do not harden multitudes of them 
against thee, by unnecessary yokes over their con- 
sciences : which they that do not eye God in all, and in 
lowliness of spirit bow before Him, may be apt to kick 
against and strive to throw off. — And I beseech thee, 
take heed of this world's pleasures and vanities ; which 
steal aw^ay the heart from God, and make it thick and 
gross, that it cannot hear his voice or know his coun- 
sel. I am satisfied with what the Lord shall do ; but it 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 63 

is the earnest desire of my heart, that thou mightest be 
spared in the day of God's visitation, which is coming 
upon this nation. — This is my desire for thee, that thy 
heart might be brought into, and kept in, that frame 
which God loves and dehghts to be present with, and to 
instruct, and [that] all such things might be eschewed 
and avoided by thee, which may prove dangerous to 
thy soul for ever, and to thy government here. For 
though thou beest a great king here, yet, if thou wilt 
attain the blessing and inheritance of eternal life, and 
escape eternal misery and destruction, thou must take 
up the cross to thy lusts, and walk in tlie same path of 
mortification and self-denial, which God, who is no re- 
specter of persons, hath chalked out to the meanest of 
thy subjects. Hear, O king, turn towards the Lord, 
bow before Him in soul and spirit, in thy whole conver- 
sation. It is a greater honour to be a subject to Him, 
than to reign over men." 

In the period of liberty which intervened between 
the first imprisonment of Isaac Penington already re- 
lated, and the second, an interval of about three years, 
the number of his writings which issued from the press 
was thirteen : on various occasions, but all of a religious 
tendency. The reader is referred to the Review, 
which forms a large part of this work, for a general 
catalogue of his writings ; but an extract from two of 
them exhibits so much of Christian patience and Chris- 
tian good-will, that it is possible he will not be displeas- 
ed at the introduction of it in this place. 

In a short piece, entitled " Three Queries propound- 
ed to the King and Parliament," he thus gives his be- 
lief respecting the people with whom he was suffering, 
evinces his patience and charity, and asserts his faith 
that the Lord in due time would deliver them. 

1. " I am assured in my heart and soul, that this des- 
pised people called Quakers, is of the Lord's begetting, 
in his own life and nature. Indeed, had I not seen the 
power of God in them, and received from the Lord an 



64 MEMOIRS OF 

unquestionable testimony concerning them, I had never 
looked towards them ; for they were otherwise very 
despisable in my eyes. And this I cannot but testify 
concerning them, that I have found the life of God in 
my owning them ; and that which God hath begotten 
in my heart refreshed, by the power of life in them. 
And none but the Lord knows the beauty and excel- 
lency of glory, which He hath hid under this mean ap- 
pearance." 

2. " The Lord hath hitherto preserved them against 
great oppositions, and is still able to preserve them. 
Every power hitherto hath made nothing of overrun- 
ning them ; yet they have hitherto stood, by the care 
and tender mercy of the Lord ; and the several powers 
which have persecuted them, have fallen one after ano- 
ther." 

3. " I have had experience myself of the Lord's good- 
ness and preservation of me, in my suffering with them 
for the testimony of his truth ; who made my bonds 
pleasant to me ; and my noisome prison, enough to have 
destroyed my weakly and tender-educated nature, a 
place of pleasure and delight ; where I was comforted 
by my God night and day, and filled with prayers for 
his people ; as also with love to, and prayers for, those 
who had been the means of outwardly afflicting me and 
others, upon the Lord's account." 

4. " 1 have no doubt in my heart that the Lord will 
deliver us. The strength of man, the resolution of 
man, is nothing in my eye in [to] compare with the 
Lord. Whom the liOrd loveth, He can save at his 
pleasure. Hath He begun to break our bonds and de- 
liver us, and shall we distrust Him '? Are we in a worse 
condition than Israel was, when the sea was before 
them, the mountains on each side, and the Egyptians 
behind pursuing them? He indeed that looketh with 
man's eye, can see no ground of hope, nor hardly a 
possibility of deliverance ; but, to the eye of faith, it 
is now nearer, than when God began at first to deli- 



ISAAC PENINGTO?f. 65 

5. " It is the delight of (he Lord and his glory, to 
deliver his people, when to the eye of sense it seemeth 
impossible. Then doth the Lord delight to stretch forth 
his arm, v/hen none else can help ; and then doth it 
please Him to deal with the enemies of his truth and 
people, when they are lifted up above the fear of Him, 
and are ready to say in their hearts concerning them, 
* They are now in our hands. Who can deliver them V 

" Well, were it not in love to you, and in pity, in re- 
lation to what will certainly befal you, if you go on in 
this course, I could say in the joy of my heart, and in 
the sense of the good-will of my God to us, who suffer- 
eth these things to come to pass. Go on. Tri/ it out 
with the Spirit of the Lord. Come forth zuith your laws, 
and prisons, and spoiling of our goods, and barmshment, 
and death (if the Lord please) and see if you can carry 
it. For we come not forth against you in our own wills, 
or in any enmity against your persons or government, or 
in any stubbornness, or refractoriness of spirit ; but with 
the lamb-like nature, which the Lord our God hath be- 
gotten in us, which is taught and enabled by Him both 
to do his will, and to suffer for his name's sake. And 
if we cannot thus overcome you even in patience of 
spirit and in love to you, and if the Lord our God please 
not to appear for us, we are content to be overcome by 
you. So the will of the Lord be done, saith my soul." 

These queries have not any date. They are placed 
in Whiting's catalogue between the dates of 1662 and 
1663. To the former of these, belongs the piece from 
which the following is taken, entitled, " Some observa- 
tions from Romans xiv. 20." It is probable that the 
operation of grace upon a mind naturally tender and com- 
passionate, produces a display of human nature in its most 
amiable point of view ; and it should be surveyed with 
due reverence to the power that sometimes permits a 
combination of so many pleasing qualitications. At the 
same time it is proper to remember, that tempers, ap- 
parently cast in a rougher tnould, have their appropri- 
ate place in the church, and in the world ; and that all 
F 2 



06 MEMOIRS or 

depends upon each exercising his faculties, of whatso- 
ever kind, in subordination to divine wisdom. 

" I am," says this favoured man, " a lover of mankind 
in general, and have been a deep sufferer with, and tra- 
veller [travailer] for, all the miserable. None knows 
the path of my sorrows, or the extent of my bowels, but 
He that made me. It is not natural, or kindly to me, 
to upbraid any man with any kind of wickedness, or 
6ver so justly deserved misery; but my bowels work 
concerning him towards the Spring of eternal power 
and compassions : even as I would be pitied, and repre- 
sented to the Father of mercies in the like condition. 
Indeed I have been emptied from vessel to vessel, and 
tossed with multitudes of storms and tempests ; yet the 
savour of my life remaineth with me to this day, and 
the Spirit of my God breatheth on my heart ; blessed 
be his holy name for ever ! And though I walk with 
one sort of people, because my heart sayeth (yea, the 
Spirit of the eternal God hath witnessed unto me, and 
shown me in that hght which cannot deceive, and to that 
eye which cannot be deceived) that they are the peo- 
ple whom He hath chosen out of all the gatherings 
(throughout the earth), from the apostacy, to manifest 
his power in, and his presence among ; I say, though I 
have been guided and led by the spirit of the Lord to 
walk among these ; yet I am not bounded there, either 
in the love or in the unity of my heart ; but I have 
unity with the integrity and zeal for God which is in 
others, of wliat sort or gathering soever ; and I have 
tender bowels for all, even for those who hate and per- 
secute that which is my life, and hath the love of my 
heart for ever." 

"Oh, how have I prayed for the lost world ! For all 
the souls of mankind, how hath my soul bowed in un- 
utterable breathings of spirit before my God, and could 
not be silenced ; until He quieted my spirit in [the] 
righteousness and excellency of his will and bid me 
leave it to Him." 



ISAAC PENIiVGTOy. 67 

There are scarcely any particulars of Isaac Pening- 
ton's second imprisonment ; at least few have offered 
themselves in the search, which the present compila- 
tion has occasioned. It is however known, and this 
little we learn from his friend EUwood's testimony, 
which has been before mentioned, that he was taken 
out of a meeting for worship, and again confined in 
Aylesbury gaol for nearly the same space of time as at 
the former commitment : that is upwards of seventeen 
weeks. 

About this time a very severe law had been made, 
especially against Friends. The penalty, enacted by 
this law, on assembling for the purpose of religious wor- 
ship, in a number exceeding four, was for w hat was 
called the first offence, five pounds, for the second ten, 
and for the third, banishment : or, in case of non-pay- 
ment of the fines, three, and six months' imprisonment. 
Soon after the publication of this law Isaac Penington, 
with many of the Friends of the adjacent country, w^ent 
to Amersham, to attend the burial of a deceased ac- 
quaintance. As they were carrying the body along 
the street to the burying-ground, they were assaulted 
by a magistrate, Avho happened to be passing through 
the town. Hearing of he interment the put up his 
horse, procured constables and a multitude. of assistants, 
and came forth, sword in hand, to attack the peacea- 
ble bearers. His first command to set down the coffin, 
though seconded with a blow, not succeeding, he him- 
self threw it to the ground, and forced the attendants 
to leave it. He then caused the Friends to be appre- 
hended, and, having procured another justice to join 
him, committed ten of them to Aylesbury prison : 
though they w^ere not even assembled under pretence of 
worship. It was late on the Seventh-day of the week 
when the prisoners were intrusted to the constable. 
Aylesbury was nine miles off, according to Elhvood's 
account, fourteen as they are now measured ; and the 
constable neither liked so long and so late an expedi- 
tion, nor that the town should be at the charge of keep- 



68 MEMOIRS OF 

ing the ten prisoners two nights and the intermediate 
day. He therefore suffered them all to return home, 
on their parole to attend him at Amersham on Second- 
day morning. This confidence in the word of Friends 
was not an uncommon thing in the time of their perse- 
cution. The prisoners, of wjiom Isaac Penington was 
one, did not infringe upon that confidence. They came 
according to the appointment and were conducted to 
gaol. Some former prisoners had been ill-treated in 
this gaol, and closely confined among the felons, be- 
cause they had refused some fees. The gaoler was not 
at home when the Friends from Amersham were brought 
in. They forbore therefore to take possession of any 
rooms until he should return ; and they then declared 
they would have a free prison. In the mean time they 
had dined on the ground, in the prison-yard, on bread 
and cheese ; in much concern for Isaac Penington, on 
account of the tenderness of his constitution. He, on 
the contrary, was so lively in his spirit, and so cheerful- 
ly resigned to suffer, that he rather encouraged his fel- 
low-sufferers, than needed encouragement from them: 
and the gaoler, on his return, fatigued probably with 
the firmness of the former prisoners, granted lodgings to 
these on their own terms. The assizes were just at 
hand; but the judge (Morton) refused to hear their 
cause, referring it to the justices who had committed 
them. These therefore fined them six shillings and 
eightpencc each, and, the payment being of course re- 
fused, committed them for one month to prison, on the 
act for banishment. It is to be observed that the jus- 
tices had power to lessen both the fine, and the term of 
imprisonment previous to banishment. Lenity might 
occasion the first, and a desire to procure speedy banish- 
ment, the other. The words of the act were not ex- 
ceeding five pounds, or three months, and so in the 
second fining and imprisonment, often pounds and six 
months. At the expiration therefore of one month, Pen- 
ington and his companions were enlarged ; and they 
gratified the gaoler for his civiHty. 



ISAAC PEyixVGTOX. 69 

Isaac Penington appeared now to be at the mercy of 
the civil power, and it seemed probable that he would 
not be long in passing through the second step prepara- 
tory to banishment. For it was not to be expected that 
a man who had bought his present profession at the 
price of so many years of tribulation, would lightly for- 
sake it, or forbear to hold up a public testimony to that 
\vhich he knew to be the truth. But it is very remark- 
ble, that of the many that were, imprisoned on the act 
of banishment, and even of those who were convicted 
of what was termed the third offence, few were actual- 
ly sent on ship-board, and the greater part of those 
never reached the plantations ; but way was made for 
their return, in a remarkable manner. As to Isaac 
Penington, he seems to have been in some measure pro- 
tected from the oppression of the civil powder, by falling 
soon after his release into the hands of the military. 

A soldier came to his house without any warrant, 
and informed him that he must go before Philip Palmer 
one of the deputy lieutenants of the county of Bucks. 
He meekly attended the rude soldier ; and was sent by 
Palmer, under a guard of soldiers, to his old quarters at 
Aylesbury. He was committed by a kind of mittimus 
or order, importing " that the goaler should receive 
and keep him safe in custody ; during the pleasure of 
the earl of Bridgewater." At this time it was suspected 
that the plague was in the goal. It was the year in which 
so many thousands fell victims to that dreadful disease, 
in London. Interest w^as therefore made with the earl, 
who was importuned by a person of considerable quali- 
ty and power in the county, to permit that Isaac Pen- 
ington should be removed to another house in the town, 
and there kept a prisoner, until the goal should be clear 
of the contagion. But this nobleman seems to have 
conceived so great a displeasure against the innocent 
prisoner, that he refused to grant the request : although 
all the while no other cause of his continement appear- 
ed than the pleasure of the persecutor. At length, 
however, a prisoner in the goal died of the plague ; on 



70 MEMOIRS OF 

which the goaler's wife, in the absence of her husband, 
permitted Penington to be removed to another house, 
in which he was shut up about six weeks. After this, 
by the interest of the earl of Ancram, a release VA^as ob- 
tained from Palmer : and, after a confinement of nine 
months, with danger of his life, and for no alleged of- 
fence, Isaac Penington was suffered to return home. 

But before he had been again settled in his family a 
month, a party of soldiers from Palmer came to his 
house, and seizing him in bed, conveyed him again to 
Aylesbury goal. The earl of Bridgewater was report- 
ed to have been the director of this measure. And it 
must probably have been durins; this second confine- 
ment, that the pious sufferer wrote the following letter 
to his unrelenting persecutor. 

" To the Earl of Bridgewater. 

" Friend, 

" It is the desire of my heart to walk with God, in the 
true fear of his name, and in true love and good-will to 
all men, all my days here upon the earth. For this 
end, I wait upon God, night and da}^ to know his will 
and to receive certain instruction from Him concerning 
what is acceptable in his sight. After He hath in any 
thing made manifest his pleasure, I wait upon Him for 
strength to perform it ; and when He hath wrought it 
by me, my soul blesseth Him therefor. If this be a 
right course, I am not to be condemned herein ; if it be 
not, and thou knowest better, show me in love, meek- 
ness, and tenderness ; as I would be willing to make any 
thing known to thee, for thy good, which the Lord hath 
shown me. But this I am fully assured of, that God is 
higher than man ; and that his will and laws are to be 
set up and obeyed in the first place : and man's only in 
the second ; and in their due subordination to the will 
and laws of God. 

" Now, friend, apply thyself to do that which is right 
and noble, and that which is truly justifiable in God's 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 71 

sight : that thou mayest give a comfortable account to 
Him when he shall call the thereunto. That which 
thou hast done to me hath not made me thy enemy ; but, 
in the midst of the sense of it, I desire thy welfare, and 
that thou mayest so carry thyself in thy place and ac- 
tions, as that thou mayest neither provoke God against 
thee in this world, nor in the world to come. Hast thou 
not yet atllicted me enough without cause ? Wouldest 
thou have me bow to thee therein, wherein the Lord 
hath not given me liberty? If I should give thee out- 
ward titles and honours, might I not do thee hurt ? O ! 
come down, be low in thy spirit before the Lord, honour 
Him in thy heart and ways, and wait for the true no- 
bility and honour from Him. Thou hast but a time to 
be in the world, and then eternity begins ; and what 
thou hast sown here, thou must then reap. O that thou 
mightest sovv, not to thy own will and wisdom, but to 
God's Spirit : and know his guidance, who is only able 
to lead man aright ! Indeed, thou shouldest be subject 
in thy own heart, to that which thou art offended at in 
others : even that in the inner parts, which testifies for 
God, and against the thoughts, ways, and works of cor- 
rupt man ; that thou mightest feel a principle of life 
from God, and good fruit brought forth from that prin- 
ciple to Him ; and that the evil nature, with the evil 
works thereof, might be cut down in thee ; that thy soul 
may escape the wrath and misery which attend the 
works and workers of iniquity. I have sent thee this 
inclosed in love. Read it in fear and humility, lifting 
up thy heart to the Lord, who giveth understanding, 
that it may be a blessing to thee ; for in true love was it 
writ, and is of a healing and guiding nature. I have 
formerly WTit to thee, but my way hath been so barred 
up, that I have not found access easy ; and how or whe- 
ther this will come to thy hand I know not. But this I 
truly say to thee, I have felt the Lamb's nature under 
my sufferings from thee, whereunto I have given thee 
no provocation, neither for the beginning nor continu- 
ance of them ; and, if thou canst, bring that thing to the 



72 MEMOIRS OF 

trial of the witness of God in thy heart, that will deal 
truly with thee, blaming what God blames, and justify- 
ing what he justifieth. And, though the Lord behold- 
eth, and will plead the cause of his innocent ones (who 
the more helpless they are, the more they are consider- 
ed and tendered by Him), yet I do not desire that thou 
shouldest suffer, either from God or man, on my account 
but that thou mightest be guided to, and preserved in 
that which will be sweet rest, peace, and safety, to all 
that are (sheltered by it, in the troublous and stormy 
hour, in which the Lord will distress man, and make 
him feel his sin and misery. 

" This is the sum of what 1 have at present to say, 
who have writ this, not for any by-end, but in the stir- 
rings of true love towards thee, and from a true desire 
that thou mightest feel the power of God forming thy 
heart aright, and bringing forth the fruits of righteous- 
ness in thee ; that thou mightest be made by Him 
of the seed of the blessed, and inherit the blessing, 
and find the earthly nature consumed, and brought 
to naught in thee; to which is the curse, and which 
must feel the curse, as God brings forth his righteous 
judgments in the hearts, and upon the heads, of the 
transgressors. And knowing there to be a certain day 
of God's calling transgressors to account, and the terri- 
bleness of his wrath, and consuming pleasure in that 
day, I warn thee in tenderness, and in the bowels of love 
beseech thee, to consider thy ways, and make thy peace 
with Him, that thou mayest not be irrecoverably and 
eternally miserable ; but mayest be transformed iDy his 
life and nature, and sow to Him the fruits thereof, that 
thou mayest reap and receive of Him that which is the 
soul's joy. 

" And, friend, know this assured truth, it is not a 
religion of man's making or choosing (neither the pope's, 
nor any other man's,) but only that which is of God, 
which is acceptable to Him ; and what will be- 
come of that man, whose very religion and worship is 
hateful to God ? Where will he stand, or what account 
will he be able to give when he appears before Him ? 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 73 

Thou hast not often met with such plain dealing as this. 
These things very nearly concern thee. O, wait upon 
God for his true light, that thou mayest not be deceiv- 
ed about them ; because thy loss thereby will be so 
great and irreparable ! 

" I am thy friend in these things, and have written 
as a true lover and desirer of the welfare of thy soul. 

" I. P." 

" From Aylesbury goal, 
24th of 6jth month, 1666." 

The foregoing letter is taken from a late collection, 
published in 1796 by John Kendall: in which are also 
other letters dated from his prison-house, or during the 
time he remained there, replete with instruction, and 
serving to show the manner in which he passed his days 
of confinement. This is further exemplified by the 
number of his own publications dated from this prison : 
displaying the undaunted mind, calm amidst sufferings, 
not cast down by oppression, and breathing for the ad- 
vancement of righteousness. The following extract of 
a letter to a Friend, written at Aylesbury about three 
months before the foregoing letter, will exemplify what 
I have said. 

" The Lord is tender of me, and merciful to me. 
Though, indeed, I have felt much weakness both in- 
wardly and outwardly, yet my strength doth not forsake 
me ; but the mercies of the Lord are renewed to me, 
* morning by morning.' I could almost sing to his glo- 
rious name, seeing (in the pure, powerful, overcoming 
life) the death of all that troubles Israel. O the gates 
of hell, ye shall not prevail against the least lamb of 
my Father's preserving, glory be to his mercy, to his 
love, to his power, to his wisdom, to his goodness, for 
evermore !" 

His health too during this imprisonment was greatly 

impaired. He remained in prison a year and a half, 

during which time he was never brought up, to either 

sessions or assize ; but by some illegal means continued 

. G 



74 MEMOIRS OF 

as a prisoner on the calendar. He lay in rooms so cold, 
damp, and unhealthy, that it had nearly cost him his 
life, and sent him to the company of confessors, who in 
the reign of the second Charles, were killed by the ri- 
gours of confinement. He became, however, so much 
disabled, that he lay in a weak state several months. 
At length a relation of his wife, procured his removal 
by habeas corpus, to the bar of the court of King's bench, 
where with the wonder of the court that a man should 
be imprisoned so long for nothing, he was discharged in 
the year 1668. 

Although Isaac Penington, as has been shewn, had 
his abundant consolation, under his sufferings, it does 
not appear to have lifted him up. The following let- 
ter to George Fox, written from Aylesbury goal, may 
serve to prove this, and to evince his high esteem for 
that Friend, and probably may be otherwise generally 
acceptable to the reader. 

" Dear G. F. 
" I feel the tender mercy of the Lord, and some pro- 
portion of that brokenness, fear, and humility, which I 
have long waited for, and breathed after. I feel unity 
with, and strength from, the body : O ! blessed be the 
Lord, who hath fitted and restored me, and brought up 
my life from the grave. I feel an high esteem and dear 
love to thee, whom the Lord hath chosen, anointed, 
and honoured, and of thy brethren and fellow-labour- 
ers in the work of the Lord. And dear G. F. 1 beg thy 
love ; I entreat thy prayer, in faith and assurance that 
the Lord hears thee, that I may be yet more broken, 
that I may be yet more filled with the fear of the Lord, 
that I may be yet poorer, and humbler before the Lord, 
and may walk in perfect humiUty and tenderness of 
spirit before Him, all my days. Dear G. F. thou may- 
est feel my desires and wants more fully than my own 
heart* Be helpful to me in tender love, that I may feel 
settlement and stability in the Truth ; and perfect sepa- 



ISAAC PENINGTON'. 75 

ration from, and dominion in the Lord over all that is 
contrary thereto. 

"I. P." 

" Aylesbury goal, 
15th of 5th month, 1667." 

" I entreat thy prayers for my family, that the name 
of the Lord may be exalted, and his Truth flourish 
therein. Dear G. F. indeed my soul longs for the pure, 
full, and undisturbed reign of the Life, in me." 

Another short effusion of his benevolent heart, during 
this imprisonment can scarcely fail of pleasing such as 
desire the welfare of the Christian community. It is 
addressed to " Friends of Amersham," his neighbours. 

" Friends, 
" Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness, and bear- 
ing with one another, and forgiving one another ; and 
not laying accusations one against another ; but praying 
one for another, and helping one another with a tender 
hand, if there has been any slip or fall ; and waiting till 
the Lord give sense and repentance, if sense and repent- 
ance in any be wanting. O ! wait to feel this spirit, 
and to be guided to walk in this spirit : that ye may 
enjoy the Lord in sweetness, and walk sweetly, meekly, 
tenderly, peaceably, and lovingly, one with another. 
And then ye will be a praise to the Lord ; and any thing 
that is, or hath been, or may be amiss, ye will come 
over in the true dominion, even in the Lamb's dominion ; 
and that which is contrary shall be trampled upon, as 
life rules in you. So, watch to your hearts and ways, 
and watch over one another in that which is gentle and 
tender, and knows it can neither preserve itself, nor help 
another out of the snare : but the Lord must be waited 
upon, to do this in and for all. So mind Truth, the 
service, enjoyment, and possession of it in your hearts; 
and so to walk as ye may bring no disgrace upon it ; 



76 MEMOIRS OF 

but ye may be a good savour in the places where ye 
live ; the meek, innocent, tender, righteous Hfe reigning 
in you, governing of you, and shining through you in 
the eyes of all with whom ye converse. 

" Your friend in the Truth and desirer of 
your welfare and prosperity therein. 

" I. P." 
" Aylesbury, 4th of 3rd month 1667." 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 77 



CHAP. III. 



Loss of his estate — attachment to his friends in Bucks — goes to 
board at Waltham-Abbey, Essex — by the assistance of his wife 
purchases a house at Amersham Woodside — she superintends the 
alterations — Conventicle-act — sixth imprisonment, at Reading 
— released by patent with many othersr— his constancy in suffer- 
ing — death of his son at sea — his tract entitled "•Flesh and 
Blood of Christ," Sec. — its occasion — a review of it — letter to a 
Friend. 

Hitherto on his several releasements from prison, 
Isaac Penington had returned to his house, called the 
Grange, at Chalfont, St. Peter's ; but on this release- 
ment he had scarcely a home to which to resort. His 
wife relates that they had been injured by their rela- 
tions, who, knowing their conscientious scruple to swear, 
had involved them in a suit in Chancery, where their 
answer without an oath was invalid. They were also 
wronged by their tenants, and perplexed with various 
law-suits ; but at length the relations were able to car- 
ry their machinations to so great a length, that, during 
the time that Isaac Penington lay in the last-mentioned 
cruel imprisonment, his wife and family were turned out 
of his house, by the persons who had gotten possession of 
his estate. By these means the family was broken up. 
The wife placed herself at Aylesbury, to be near her 
husband : and the youthful Gulielma Springett went for 
a while on a visit to Bristol. Afterwards the family 
had lodgings in the adjoining parish called Chalfont St. 
Giles's, and thence removed to more spacious ones at 
Amersham. During their residence at the former place, 
the tutor, too, of the children, who from having been 
G 2 



78 MEMOIRS OF 

himself fostered in the family, was now become in his 
turn, variously useful in it, was taken from them and 
committed to prison, by Bennett, the same violent ma- 
gistrate who the year before had committed both him 
and his patron, as hath been already related. At length 
means were found to provide themselves with a suitable 
habitation, in the following manner. 

They were much attached to the friends in the 
neighbourhood of the Chalfonts, whom they had been 
instrumental in gathering to the knowledge of the Truth, 
with whom they had suffered, and with whom, no doubt, 
they had harmonized and rejoiced. They therefore 
sought for a house. in that neighbourhood diligently; 
but finding none that seemed to suit them, to be let, 
and not incHning to make a purchase, the wife propos- 
ed that they should go and reside on an estate in Kent, 
part probably of her own real property, which had not, 
like all her husband's, been rent away by the relations. 
To this, Isaac Penington objected, for the reasons al- 
ready mentioned, and because the inhabitants of that 
part of Buckinghamshire, in which they had so long liv- 
ed, knew and commiserated their troubles and losses, 
and did not expect their establishment now could be any 
longer as it had been, or equal to the rank they had held. 
They had lived in great plenty, but were now obliged to 
submit to a much lower style of life than that to which they 
had been accustomed ; and to their neighbours it was 
almost a matter of surprise that they could still pay to 
every one his own. At length they concluded to go and 
board during one summer at Waltham-Abbey in Essex, 
in order that their children, who about this time lost 
their domestic tutor by the marriage of Thomas Ell- 
wood, might have the accommodation of the school 
kept at that tov^n by Christopher Taylor.* Near the 



* This was the school in which there was so extraordinary a vi- 
sitation, and influence of good, among the children ; as is circum- 
stantially related in a pamphlet published by C. Taylor, entitled, 
" A Testimony to the Lord's Power and blessed appearance among 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 79 

time of their departure for their new lodgings, a Friend 
who was expressing his regret at losing their society, 
again proposed to them a small purchase. Mary Pen- 
ington, who seems in temporals as well as spirituals, to 
have been truly a help-meet to her husband, object- 
ed much to the proposal, and told the proposer that the 
circumstances of her husband and herself would not ad- 
mit of it. Their friend, however, urged his proposal so 
strongly, that Mary was induced to go and inspect the 
premises. It was a small estate called Woodside, near 
Amersham, of about £30 per annum, with an old house 
on it : and it had so ruinous and unpromising an appear- 
ance, that Mary entirely gave up the thought of the 
purchase. Soon after this, the worthy couple were 
disappointed in their expectation of procuring a 
house at Beaconsfield ; on which proposals were again 
made to them, respecting the estate at Woodside. 
The remainder of the story I cannot better relate than 
in the words of this notable woman, to whom her 
husband left the entire management of the business. 
" Taking," says she, " some friends with me, 1 went to 
see it again. While they viewed the ground, 1 went 
into the house. The whole plan was in my mind — 
what to pull down, and what to add. Calculating the 
whole expence, I judged it might be done by selling an 
estate of mine in Kent." 

" Next day we went for V/altham, requesting our 
friends to act in the affair, and write [to] us upon it ; 
which they did ; and informed us the title was clear. 
When 1 received the message, my mind was much to 
the Lord, with desires that if it was the place he gave 
us hberty to settle in. He would order it for us. My 
husband was very averse to building ; yet considering 
his all was lost, and the estate to be disposed of was 
mine, he was willing I should do what I would in the 

Children," &c. — of which a new edition was printed by Dartonand 
Harvey, in 1799. He was also the author of several other pieces, 
particularly a compendious Grammar of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, 
entitled Compendium triumlinguarum, &.c. 



80 MEMOIRS OF 

affair, provided he had no trouble in building ; so we 
agreed for the purchase. My mind was often engaged 
in prayer that I might be preserved from entangle- 
ments and cumber ; and that [the house] might be such 
an habitation as would manifest that the Lord was 
again restoring us, and had regard to us. When it was 
bought, I went industriously and cheerfully about the 
business : but I saw many unusual incumbrances pre- 
sent themselves, which, I still cried to the Lord, that I 
might go through in his fear, and not darken and en- 
cumber my mind. I was, by the surveyor, put upon 
altering my plan, and raising a part new from the 
ground. My husband joining with him, 1 could not well 
avoid it. This brought great trouble upon me : for 
now I did not see my way so well as before ; and, not 
knowing how I should compass the charge, I took no 
pleasure in any thing. At last I fell ill, and could not 
look after it. Great was my exercise of mind ; one 
while fearing I had not divine approbation upon my un- 
dertaking; then reflecting that I did not seek great 
things, nor vain glory in a fine habitation : for accord- 
ing to my plan it would have been very ordinary. Af- 
ter a time of close exercise and prayer, I again came 
to clearness, and the honesty and uprightness of my in- 
tention was accepted, so that I went on without anxious 
care or disquiet, and the building was managed by me 
rather in delight, through the answer of peace which 1 
felt ; and not by reason of any distinguishing solicitude 
I had about it." (Should she not rather have said any 
particular gratijication ; for solicitude more often ban- 
ishes, than procures delight.) " When I went to meet- 
ing in the morning, 1 set all things in order ; and rare- 
ly found them so much as to rise in my mind, when go- 
ing to or at meeting. This kept my mind very sweet 
and savoury, for I had nothing in all this which disqui- 
eted me, having no other care but that there might be 
no waste, which I always prevented by my constant in- 
spection, so that no cause of fretting or anger was ad- 
ministered. I laid me down and rested very pleasant- 



ISAAC PENINGTOX. 81 

ly. I awoke in a sweet sense, and was employed all 
the day : but I bad no labour or disturbance in my 
mind ; which kept me in health and sweet peace, till 
the whole was accomplished." 

Let no one espouse the opinion that spiritual direc- 
tion may not be useful in the management of temporal 
concerns. It is certain that on various occasions, by 
means of undertaking plans which have the semblance 
of practicability and usefulness, many persons are daily 
led into disappointment ; and often, into increasing de- 
grees of " alienation from God." And to come a little 
nearer to our present subject, it seems peculiarly advi- 
sable for religious people to determine with great cau- 
tion the place of their outward habitation. There is 
probably no place, in which we may not be influenced 
by the conduct of those around us, or where we may 
not ourselves contribute to influence that of our neigh- 
bours. For, as we are born to be social, it is not pro- 
bably saying too much of any man, that something may 
be learned from him. How desirable then to be in the 
spot of providential allotment; which is in fact the spot 
of safety, beneflt, and usefulness! Mary Penington ap- 
pears to have been a person early imbued with senti- 
ments like these : and those who are fond of observing 
character, and of tracing it through the vicissitudes of 
a man's life, may here recognize the same feature of 
her mind, which she early displayed, by her trust in 
Providence respecting outward things; as has been 
related in the account of her progress to religious sta- 
bility. 

It may easily be imagined that Isaac Penington's 
mind was active, during the latter restraints on his per- 
son, and some proof of it has been given. He had, how- 
ever, recourse to the press about eleven times in the 
four years preceding his removal to Woodside, the ha- 
bitation which the industry and property of his wife had 
been the means of providing for him. But Woodside 
did not yet become the asylum of his latter days ; for 



82 



MEMOIRS OF 



he was immured for a year and three quarters, suffer- 
ing under the arm of persecution, in the county gaol at 
Reading. 

In the year 1670 was passed that singularly oppres- 
sive law, commonly called the Conventicle- Act. It im- 
posed heavy fines on such dissenters as should suffer 
meetings to be held in their houses, and gave unusual 
powers to magistrates for the levying of these, and other 
fines which it imposed, and for the imprisonment of 
such as should become obnoxious to the severity of the 
law. It also held out great encouragement to inform- 
ers, and of course the country was soon infested with 
that pernicious race of men. By the vigilent and sea- 
sonable exertions of Thomas Ellwood, who, in nearly 
the outset of the business in the county of Bucks, pro- 
cured two informers to be convicted of perjury, Buck- 
inghamshire was not much molested with this new en- 
gine of oppression ; but in the neighbouring county of 
Berks, the Friends had their full measure of distress by 
means of the persecuting law. The goal at Reading 
was crowded with them, and Isaac Penington going, ac- 
cording to Christian practice, to visit them in their con- 
finement, was informed against before a magistrate 
who had long signalised himself as a furious persecutor. 
By this man Isaac Penington was committed to the 
same prison, whither he had come to sympathise with 
his brethren a,lready there. We do not in this instance' 
read of his being at any religious meeting, or violating 
any clause of the late act. It is, however, more than 
possible that his visit was employed in silent retirement : 
but the current of persecution at that time raged too 
violently to be always confined even in legal channels. 

It is matter of regret that our early recorders of the 
sufferings of Friends, are not so explicit in their details, 
as to make it always easy to trace a Friend through the 
alleged offence, the law by which he suffered, the pun- 
ishment, and the mode of relief In the twenty-one 
months of Isaac Penington's detention, it is probable 
that he was, at some of the assizes or sessions that oc- 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 83 

curred during the period, convicted of refusing the oath 
of allegiance, because it is related by EUvvood, in his 
testimony, that he was brought under the sentence. of 
praemunire. . It appears also from Besse's Account of 
Sufferings, that the magistrate had sent for him, on the 
information of the goaler, had tendered to him the oath, 
and had made the refusal the ostensible reason of his 
commitment. However, when Charles the Second re- 
leased, by letters patent, such Friends as were impri- 
soned on suits of the crown, Isaac Penington shared in 
the benefit, and left, for the sixth and last time, the 
confinement of a prison. A fellow-sufferer, in several 
of his imprisonments, gives the following description of 
his conduct in those trying situations. " Being made 
willing by the power of God to suffer with great pa- 
tience, cheerfulness, contentedness, and true nobility of 
spirit, he was a good example to me and others. I do 
not remember that ever I saw him cast down, or de- 
jected in his spirit, in the time of his close confinement, 
nor speak hardly of those that persecuted him: for he 
was of that temper as to love enemies, and to do good 
to those that hated him : having received a measure of 
that virtue, from Christ his master, that taught him so 
to do. Indeed I may say, in the prison he was a help 
to the weak, being made instrumental in the hand of 
the Lord for that end. O ! the remembrance of the 
glory that did often overshadow us in the place of con- 
finement : so that indeed the prison was made by the 
Lord, who was powerfully with us, as a pleasant pa- 
lace ! I was often, with many more, by those stream- 
ings of life that did many times run through his vessel, 
greatly overcome with the pure presence, and overcom- 
ing love of our God, that was plentifully shed abroad 
in our hearts." 

1 have proceeded so connectedly with the account of 
the sufferings of Isaac Penington in the support of his 
principles ; among which the loss of his estate, so far 
as his religious restraint from swearing had a share in 
facilitating the designs of his relations, must be account- 



84 MEMOIRS OF 

ed a great one : that 1 have omitted to mention in the 
exact order of time, a domestic trouble occasioned by 
the death of his son. It was Isaac, the second son, a 
youth of excellent, and very promising abilities. He 
was intended to be educated for a merchant ; but be- 
fore it was thought fit to engage him in the occupations 
of the counting house, his parents consented to a pro- 
posal that he should make a voyage to Barbadoes, for 
the purpose of passing a little time not unaptly for his 
future prospects in life, of seeing the island, and gaining 
some knowledge of the sea. He w^as therefore intrusted 
to the care of a valuable friend who commanded a 
vessel in the Barbadoes trade ; and took with him a 
small adventure, made up by his friends. All seemed 
going prosperously on, and he was returning with his 
little cargo of produce, when unwarily he fell over- 
board w^hile the ship was sailing before a brisk gale ; 
nor could the utmost care and diligence of the master 
and mariners of the ship avail to recover him. The 
news of this event must have reached his affectionate 
parents, before the last imprisonment of Isaac Pening- 
ton, and about the time of the family's entrance on the 
house at Woodside. Ellwood the preceptor of this 
youth partook deeply of the grief occasioned by his 
death, and wrote some lines of condolence. He doth not 
often excel in poetry, though his thoughts are worthy 
the Christian, and on this occasion a motto which he 
subjoins to his verses, seems to contain the essence of 
all stable consolation. Whence it is quoted I know 
not. 

— -^ Domino mens nixa quieia est. 



From the time that Isaac Penington went to inhabit 
the asylum of his declining years, which was procured 
by the care, and at the charge of his wife, few are the 
occurrences related of him. The remainder of his life 
must therefore principally be surveyed by occasional 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 85 

views of the tenor of his mind, as it is exhibited in some 
of his letters, or pubHcations. 

It appears from the preface of a tract pubHshed in 
1675, entitled " The Flesh and Blood of Christ in the 
mystery and in the outward, briefly, plainly, and up- 
rightly acknowledged, and testified to, &c." that he had 
lately been in London. His business was to attend 
some meetings between Friends and the Baptists. 
About the year 1673 a baptist minister, named Hicks, 
had published some invidious dialogues under the title 
of " A Dialogue between a Christian and a Quaker." 
In these he is said to have made his supposed Quaker 
appear not a little ridiculous and profane. His way 
seems to have been to make his pretended Christian 
prove false doctrine against the Quakers by quotations 
out of their books. Among others he quotes Isaac Pen- 
ington ; but he attempts to establish his charges by a 
mode of citation so unfair, that it was probably on this 
account that Penington thought himself engaged not 
only to attend some of the meetings ; but also to vindi- 
cate himself in print, by means of the pamphlet already 
mentioned. As it may serve to show the manner in 
which Isaac Penington managed controversy, and thus 
exhibit him in a light somewhat different from that in 
which we have hitherto viewed him, though still tinged 
with philanthropy ; as it may demonstrate the faith of 
Friends on some deep and important points of doctrine; 
and as it may hold up to view the accustomed method 
of the spirit of error, in attempting to misrepresent when 
it cannot refute ; it may be proper to make some co- 
pious extracts from this pamphlet. 

Hicks had charged the Quakers with accounting that 
the blood of Christ icas no more than a common thing. 
For proof of this, he had drawn togjether some disjointed 
passages from a book of Penington's, called " A question 
to the professors of Christianity, whether they have the 
true, living, powerful, saving knowledge of Christ, or 
no," &c. Therefore, says Isaac Penington, "having 



86 MEMOIRS OP 

been at that meeting to clear my innocency in that 
particular ; but the thing not then coming in question, 

it was in my heart to give forth this testimony 

to take off that untruth and calumny of T. H. both 
from the people called Q,uakers and myself, being both 
of us greatly injured, as the Lord God of heaven and 
earth knoweth. I have had experience of that despis- 
ed people many years, and 1 have often heard them 
(even the ancient ones of them) own Christ both in- 
wardly and outwardly. Yea, I heard one of the an- 
cients of them thus testify, in a public meeting many 
years since : That if Christ had not come in the flesh 
in the fulness of time, to bear our sins in his own body 
on the tree, and to offer himself up a sacrifice for man- 
kind, all mankind had utterly perished." 

This allusion to the words of the ancient Friend, is 
strongly in point to prove, as it is intended to prove, the 
high and infinite value which our pious ancestors and 
predecessors set on the death and sufferings of Christ. 
Its accuracy, however, in point of argument, as an ab- 
stract position, may, I think, be questioned ; because 
it seems to limit to one mode, the operation of divine 
love. It is enough for us to receive and embrace the 
Christian dispensation, as the mode chosen by Almighty 
Wisdom. 

" What cause then," continues Penington, " have we 
to praise the Lord God, for sending his Son in the like- 
ness of sinful flesh, and for what his Son did therein ! 
O professors, do 'not pervert our words (by reading 
them with a prejudiced mind) quite contrary to the 
drift of God's Spirit by us. If ye should thus read the 
Holy Scriptures, yea, the very words of Christ himself 
therein, and give that wisdom of yours, which fights 
against us, scope to comment upon them, and pervert 
them after this manner, what a strange and hideous 
appearance of untruth, and contradiction to the very 
Scriptures of the Old Testament, might ye make of 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 87 

that wonderful appearance of God ?^ For the words of 
Christ seemed so foolish and impossible to the wise men of 
that age that they frequently contradicted, and some- 
times derided him." 

"Oh ! T. H., dost thou believe the eternal judgment 
at the great day, not outwardly only in notion, but in- 
wardly in heart ? Oh ! then consider how wilt thou an- 
swer it to God, for saying so many things in the name 
of a people, as their belief and words, which never 
were spoken by any one of them, nor ever came into 
any one of their hearts ! Innocency in me, life in me, 
truth in me, the Christian spirit and nature in me, is a 
witness against thee, that thou wrotest thy dialogues 

out of the Christian nature and spirit." " I pity thee, 

yea, 1 can truly say I forgive thee the injury thou hast 
done me (though indeed it is very great, thus to repre- 
sent me publicly ; what thou couldst not have done, if 
thou hadst equally considered the things written in that 
book) ; and I also desire that thou mayst be sensible of 
what thou hast so evilly done, and confess it before 

God, that He also might forgive thee." " As for 

my particular, I had committed my cause to the Lord, 
and intended to have been wholly silent, knowing my 
innocency will be cleared by Him in this particular at the 
great day ; and the love, truth, and uprightness where- 
in I wrote these things owned by Him. But in the 
love of God, and in the stillness and tenderness of my 
spirit, I was moved by Him to write what follows. And 
oh ! that it would please the Lord to make it servicea- 
ble, even to T. H. himself, for his good." 

The foregoing is a quotation from the preface ; the 
following, from the body of the work. 

" In the second part of Thomas Hicks's Dialogues, 
called Continuation, p. 4, he maketh his personated 
duaker speak thus : Thou sayest, wt account the blood 



* Who would think that I.Penington should in 1802 be charged 
with Socinianism ; or, to use the new name which persons of those 
principles have assumed, with having been a Unitarian ? 



88 MEMOIRS OF 

of Christ no more than a common thing ; yea, no more 
than the blood of a common thief To which he makes 
his personated Christian answer thus : Isaac Penington 
(who I suppose is an approved Quaker) asks this question. 
Can ouizvard blood cleanse ? Therefore, saiih he, we must 
inquire whether it was the blood of the veil, that is, of the 
human nature ; or the blood within the veil, viz. of that 
spiritual man, consisting of flesh, blood, and bones, which 
took on him the veil, or human nature. It is not the blood 
of the veil; that is but outward; and can outxvard blood 
cleanse ? First, I answer, these were not my words, 
which he has set down as mine ; but words of his own 
patching up, partly out of several queries of mine, and 
partly out of his own conceivings upon my queries ; as 
if he intended to make me appear both ridiculous and 
wicked at once. For 1 no where say or affirm, or ever 
did believe, that Christ is a spiritual man consisting of 
flesh, blood, and bones, which took on him the veil of 
human nature. Thus he represents me as ridiculous. 
It is true, Christ inwardly, or as to his inward being, 
was a Spirit, or God blessed for ever, manifested in 
flesh ; which, (to speak properly) cannot have flesh, 
blood, and bones, as man hath. And then, besides his 
alterations at the beginning, putting in only four words 
of my query, and leaving out this which next follows 
(which might have manifested my drift and intent in 
them) he puts in an affirmation, which was not mine, 
in these his own words, It is not the blood of the veil ; 
that is but outward; and then annexeth to this affirma- 
tion of his own, the words of my former query. Can 
outward blood cleanse ? As if these words of mine. Can 
outward blood cleanse ? did necessarily infer that the 
blood of Christ is but a common thing. Herein he re- 
presents me wicked, and makes me speak, by his chang- 
ing and adding, that which never was in my heart ; and 
the contrary whereto 1 have several times affirmed in 
that very book, where those several queries were put 
(out of which he forms this his own query, giving it forth 
in my name). For in the 10th page of that book, begin- 



ISAAC PENINGTOiV. 89 

ning at line 3, I positively affirm thus : that Christ did 
offer up the flesh and blood of that body (though not 
only so, for He poured out his soul. He poured out his 
life) a sacrifice or offering for sin, a sacrifice unto the 
Father, and in it tasted death for every man ; and that it 
is upon consideration (and through God^s acceptance)* 
of this sacrifice for sill, that the sins of believers are par' 
doned, that God might be just, and the justifier of him who 
hblieveih in Jesus, or who is of the faith of Jesus. Is 
this common flesh and blood 1 Can this be affirmed of 
common flesh and blood 1 Ought not he to have consi- 
dered this, and other passages in my book of the same 
tendency, and not thus have reproached me, and misre- 
presented me to the world ? Doth he herein do as he 

would be done by ? 1 might also except against those 

words, human nature (which he twice putteth in) not 
being my words, nor indeed my sense ; for by human 
nature, as 1 judge, is understood more than the body ; 
whereas, I, by the word veil, intended no more than 
the flesh (or outward body), which in scripture is ex- 
pressly so called. Heb. x. 20. ' Through the veil, that 
is to say, his flesh.' " 

In tlie next place, Isaac Penington complains of his 
adversary for not citing the page, or even the book, 
whence he drew his pretended quotation. Afterwards 
he goes on, " Thirdly, the drift of all those queries in 
that book was not to vilify the flesh and blood of Christ, 
by representing it as a common or useless thing ; but to 
bring people, from sticking in the outward, to a sense 
of the inward mystery : without which inward sense 
and feeling, the magnifying and crying up the outward 
doth not avail." These last lines are an epitome of the 
w^ork and concern of our ancient Friends. In conse- 
quence of their pressing home upon men's consciences 
the inward work of sanctilication, by means of the 
light of Christ, and not much urging a belief in the 
mere letter, which in their day did not appear to vi^ant 



* la Pennington's Works, the pareRthesis ends at sin. 
H 2 



f 



90 MEMOIRS OF 

to be urged, their adversaries accused them of denying 
the outward facts of the gospel. At this day, when the 
spirit of infidelity stalks abroad with greater confidence 
than in the days of Penington, these outward facts are 
treated by many with unbecoming slight : Friends have 
therefore thought it needful more nakedly to avow 
their adherence to them ; and the gainsaying spirit has 
so far shown itself to be the same which opposed our 
predecessors, that it still attempts to make it believed 
that Isaac Penington and his associates were inclining 
to that opinion which tends to degrade the character of 
Christ, and to assign to Him the rank of a mere man. 
" Believe not" therefore " every spirit." 

After much more than is convenient to be quoted in 
the limits of this work, Penington proceeds to his fourth 
head of vindication, which, much abridged, runs thus. 
" Fourthly, This query. Can oulward blood cleanse the 
conscience, c^c. doth not necessarily, nor indeed at all, 
infer, that the blood of Christ, as to the outward, was 
but a common thing, or useless. — It was put to the pro- 
fessors to answer inwardly in their hearts, who, I did 
believe, upon serious consideration, could not but con- 
fess—that outward blood itself (or of itself) could not 
cleanse and purge away the filth that was inward ; but 
that must be done by that which is inward, living, and 
spiritual. Then hereby they had been brought to see 
the necessity of the mystery, the Spirit, the power, the 
life of the Son, to be inwardly revealed in them ; and 
then I had obtained my end. — And if they could once 
come to this — I could meet them a great way in speak- 
ing glorious things of, and attributing a cleansing or 
washing virtue to the outward, in, through, and with 
the inward. For I do not separate the inward and out- 
ward in my own mind ; but the Lord opened my heart ; 
and taught me thus to distinguish according to the 
scriptures, in love to them, and for their sakes. For 
that was not my intent, to deny the outward, or make 
it appear as a common or useless thing. There was 



ISAAC PENlNGTOy. 91 

never such a sense in my heart ; nor was ever word 
written or spoken by me, to that end." 

Among the various concerns of Isaac Penington in this 
year, was a letter written in answer to one which he had 
received, from some person whom he apprehended to 
be stumbling in the path of duty. The state is proba- 
bly not uncommon ; and therefore the insertion of it 
may afford help to some. It seems addressed to one 
convinced, in degree, of the principles of Friends ; but 
weak in adopting the practice, especially in some par- 
ticular, and that probably of the kind which is an open 
confession of self-denial. Thus it begins. 

"Ah; my poor distressed, entangled, friend ! While 
thou seekest to avoid the snare, thou deeply runnest 
into it : for thou art feeding on the tree of knowledge, 
in giving way to those thoughts, reasonings, and sugges- 
tions, which keep thee from obedience to that which 
hath been made manifest to thy understanding. And 
thou mayest well be feeble in thy mind, while thou art 
thus separated from Him who is thy strength, and let- 
test in his enemy. This is not the right feebleness of 
mind, which God pities ; nor the right way of waiting 
to receive strength. Why shouldst not thou act so as 
God gives thee light; and why shouldst not thou appear 
willing to obey him even in little things, so far as He 
hath given thee light ? What if I should say that this 
is all but the subtilty of the serpent's wisdom, to avoid 
the cross ; and is not that simplicity and plainness of 
heart towards God, w^iich thou takest it to be ; and 
that thou art loth to be so poor, and low, and mean, in 
the sight of others, as this practice would make thee 
appear." 

" And what a subtil device hath the enemy put into 
thy mind about prayer; which hath no weight or truth 
in it, as applied in this present case. For prayer is the 
breath of life, an effect of God's spiritual breathing, 
which no man can perform aright w^ithout the Spirit's 
breathing upon him. Therefore the Spirit is to be 
waited upon, for his breathings and holy fire, that the 



92 MEMOIRS or 

.sacrifice may be living, and acceptable to the living 
God. But this" (here probably he refers to something 
respecting prayer mentioned by his correspondent) " is 
language, as a man or woman in ordinary converse ; 
and doth not require a motion of life to bring it forth, 
no more than to bring forth other words. And wilt 
thou say, Thou longest and pantest after the Lord, and 
the way of truth and righteousness ; and yet remain 
walking, against the light which God has given thee, 
in things of this nature ? 

" O my friend, thou and thy husband have dallied 
too long. The Lord hath shewn great love and mercy 
towards you. Take heed of dallying any longer. 
Make straight paths to your feet, lest that which is 
crooked (your feet have hitherto been too winding and 
crooked) be turned out of the way ; but it is the desire 
of my soul for you, that they may rather be rectified 
and healed." 

*' Thou sayest, the seasons when thou findest it most 
laid upon thee, is in the hearing of Friends, or soon af- 
ter ; and when, in that sense, thou resolvest to enter 
upon the practice, thou findest an inability to keep 
thee therein ; though thy reason is not only silenced, 
but in measure subjected thereunto. Now do but mind 
how far the Lord hath gone with thee ; and what hin- 
ders, and whether it be thy duty to give way to, or to 
resist, that which hinders. Thou dost confess God hath 
laid it upon thee ; and laid it upon thee at those times 
when thy heart is most tender and open towards Him 
(even when thou art in the hearing of Friends, or soon 
after) ; and hath brought thee into a resolution to en- 
ter into the practice ; nay, to help thee further, hath 
not only silenced thy reason, but subjected it in mea- 
sure. Have not many entered into the practice, and 
found acceptance of a blessing therein, who never were 
thus helped? What wouldst thou have of the Lord ? 
How far hath He proceeded towards bringing thee into 
obedience in this thing ! But thou sayest, thou findest 
an inability to keep therein. Dost thou abide in the 



ISAAC PKNINGTON. 93 

faith, where the strength is dispensed ; and out of the 
thoughts and consultations, where the strength of the 
strongest (if they intermeddle there) is broken ? O ! 
take heed of murmuring against the Lord (as thou hast 
been too apt to do) ; and consider what great matter of 
complaint He hath against thee. What could He have 
done more for Ihee, than He hath done 1 thou being no 
more ready to meet Him than thou hast been ; but, up- 
on all occasions, turning aside from his convictions and 
drawings, into thine own thoughts and reasonings. 

" I received thy letter last night ; and, upon reading 
of it, was greatly burdened and grieved for thy sake ; 
feeling thy spirit so exceedingly wrong in this matter, 
and thy reasoning and way therein so crooked and pro- 
voking to the \jord. But this morning, my heart was 
opened and drawn forth in this manner to thee. The 
Lord give a present and a future sight of the enemy's 
working, against the working of the love of God towards 
thee, and against the redemption and peace of thy soul. 
My heart breatheth to Ihe Lord for thee; and desireth 
that He may manifest to thee that nature, wisdom and 
ppirit from whence these things arise, and what is in 
thee which they prevail upon : that the child may not 
always stick in the birth, but at length be brought forth 
into the light, into the life, into the faith which gives 
victory, and into the single-hearted and holy obedience, 
where the pure power is met with, 

" Thy friend in the truth and in the sincere 
love, '*L P," 

« Amersham, 25th of 9th month, 1675," 



94 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAP. V. 



Goes to Astrop Wells — writes to the resorters to that spot — also 
his tract called " The everlasting gospel," &c. — also to the Ox- 
ford scholars — goes into Kent — at meeting in Canterbury — taken 
ill — dies at Goodnestone Court — buried at Jordan's, Bucks — re- 
gister — some account of those who wrote testimonies of him — G. 
Whitehead — S. Jennings — A. Rigge — T. Zachary — R. Jones — 
T. Evernden — C. Taylor — A. Parker — copy of his son's testimo- 
ny — of his wife's. 

In 1678, it appeared that [saac Penington was at 
Astrop, which is a place in the county of Northampton, 
on the border of Oxfordshire, at one time frequented 
for its medicinal spring. The infirm state of his health 
was probably the occasion of the journey. At this 
place he wrote the following religious address to those 
who came thither for the purpose of drinking the wa- 
ters. 

" To those persons that drink of the waters at 
Astrop Wells." 

** There is a great God, the Creator of all things, 
who gave man a being here in this world ; to whom 
man must give an account when he goes out of this 
world." 

"This great God, who loves mankind, and would 
not have them perish, is nigh unto man, to teach him 
the fear which is due from him to God." 

" The man that learns this pure fear of God, is daily 
exercised by it in departing from evil, both in thought, 



ISAAC PENINGTOX. . 95 

word, and deed, and in doing that which is good in his 
sight." 

" There is likewise another teacher near man, who 
is also ready to teach such, who do not know God or 
fear God, that which is dishonourable to the great God : 
who made man to be a vessel of honour, and to be his 
glory." 

•' They that learn of this teacher, learn not to fear 
God, or to do good ; but to please themselves in doing 
evil, in thought, word, and deed." 

"Oh! what account will such give when they 
go out of this world, and come to be judged by the 
great God (vvho is of pure eyes, and cannot behold ini- 
quity,) when their sins are set in order by Him before 
them, and just judgment proportioned by Him there- 
unto?" 

" Oh ! why do men forget God, their Creator, days 
without number ; hearkening to him who first deceived 
them ; doing the will of the deceiver ; and not the will of 
the blessed Creator and Saviour ?" 

" O ! hearken to wisdom's counsel, when she cries, in 
the streets of your hearts, against that which is evil, and 
contrary to the nature, life, and will of God : lest a day 
of calamity from God come upon you ; and then ye cry 
unto the pitiful and tender God, and his bowels be turn- 
ed against you, and He refuse to shew mercy to you. 
Read Prov. i. 20, to the end of the chapter ; and the 
Lord give you the weight, consideration, and true un- 
derstanding of it, for your soul's good, and for the re- 
claiming of you from any thing that is evil, and destruc- 
tive to your souls." 

" This is written in tender love to you, from one who 
pities and loves you, and desires your prosperity in 
this world, and your everlasting happiness with God 
for ever." 

"I. P." 

'• Astrop, 15th 6th montb, 1678." 



96 MEMOIRS OF 

Here also he wrote a short piece entitled " The ev- 
erlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the bles- 
sed effects thereof, testified to from experience;" a 
worthy theme for one who had all his life long been en- 
deavouring to conform to it; and which is peculiarly- 
emphatic from the pen of a man, who in such a pursuit 
had well nigh finished his course. It is said by the 
evangelist, speaking of his heavenly master, " Having 
loved his own, He loved them unto the end." This 
was probably said with reference to the approaching 
end of that outward appearance which John was de- 
scribing ; but 1 trust it will still hold good as relating to 
the entire life of such as have persevered in the faith 
and patience of Jesus ; consonant with that other scrip- 
ture, to be found in the Hebrews, " I will never leave 
thee nor forsake thee." By this means, his own, his 
faithful, his redeemed ones (and who may not, by co- 
operating with his grace, become such ?) are still bring- 
ing forth to the end, the fruits of his love. " They shall 
be fat and flourishing," saith the Psalmist, " they shall 
still bring forth fruit in old age." 

This small piece does not wear the aspect of contro- 
versy, or enter into argument ; but is principally de- 
claratory. Yet it appears that it was intended for the 
benefit of the Papists. Thus it is wound up. " This 
opened in me, this morning, in love and compassion to- 
wards the Papists. My bowels have often rolled over 
them, and been pained concerning them, to see how 
they are closed and shut up as to the true sense and 
understanding of things of this nature. Oh ! that they 
would prize the day of their visitation, that they might 
hear the sound of life, both from others, and also in their 
own hearts, and the saving arm of the Lord might be 
inwardly revealed to them, and they effectually re- 
deemed thereby !" But here comes another touch of 
the love which liopeth all things, — " I am no disdainer 
of Papists, or any sort of Protestants, nay, not of Turks 
or Jews ; but a mourner becaujfe of their several mis- 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 97 

takes, and a breather to the God of my life, for tender 
mercy towards them all." 

"Astrop, 13th of the 7th month, 1678." 

This appears to have been the last tract published 
in the life time of this industrious writer ; but we find a 
letter, extant only in manuscript, dated from Oxford 
the 23d of the 7th month, addressed to some scholars 
of that university, who had behaved rudely at a meet- 
ing where Isaac Penington was present ; probably on 
his return from Astrop. It may be suitable to insert it 
here. 

" To the Scholars that disturb Friends, in their 
meetings at Oxford." 

" I heard such jeering yesterday, at Being moved by 
the Spirit of God, as indeed grieved me ; because I was 
and am sensible of the great hurt it doth to those that 
give scope to themselves therein. Now, I entreat such 
to consider, doth not Christ say, ' It is the Spirit that 
quickens V Is not man dead in trespasses and sins, till 
the Lord quicken him to life, by his Holy Spirit ? And 
when the soul is in any measure made alive, doth it not 
feel the want of God's Spirit to keep it alive, and to 
add life to it ? And is not this the great thing, the soul 
cries to God for, even that Spirit whereby alone it can 
live to God, and be preserved alive before Him ? Did 
not David pray to God that the Lord would quicken 
and uphold him by his free Spirit ? And again, ' Cast 
me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy 
Spirit from me V And did ijpt Christ say, relating to 
the similitude of parents, * If ye being evil, know how 
to give good gifts to your children, how much more 
shall your heavenly Father give his Spirit to them that 
ask Him V And they that ask the Spirit of Him, when 
He gives it, will they not gladly receive it ? And when 
it is received, will it not move them unto good, and 



98 MEMOIRS OF 

against evil ; and ought not they to wait to he moved 
by it ? Doth not the natural life and spirit move in the 
natural body ; and shall not the spiritual life live and 
move in the inward man ; and they which are truly 
alive be moved and guided by it ? They that have not 
the Spirit of God, are they his ? And they that have 
his Spirit, is it not a Spirit of light, of life, of righteous- 
ness, of holiness, of grace, of truth, &c. ; and ought not 
all the children of the light and of the truth, to wait for 
its motions, that they may follow its leadings and guid- 
ings ? Did not the Christians of old live in the Spirit, 
and walk in the Spirit, and not fulfil the lusts of the 
flesh? And ought not all the Christians now to do al- 
so ? 'If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die : but if ye, 
through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye 
shall live.' O ! wait, that ye may experience those 
things; and do not disturb or deride others in their 
waiting upon God, to experience those things even now, 
and more ; who cannot but mourn and pray for you, 
while ye are doing towards them that which ye ought 
not. The Lord give you rightly to wait for true un- 
derstanding; that ye may receive it from Him in these 
and all other things that concern your everlasting 
welfare." 

" This is in true love and good-will to you, from him 
who wisheth well to your souls ; even that ye may know, 
partake of, and rejoice in God's salvation." 

"I. P." 

"Oxford, 23d of 7th month, 1678." 

The following year he took a journey with his wife 
into Kent ; and one of the last meetings that he attend- 
ed was in Canterbury. A Friend who was present, 
speaks of that meeting, and of another wherein his pub- 
lic labours closed, as follows: — "Glad I atn that it was 
my lot to be with him, the two last meetings that he 
was at, the first of which wa^ in the city of Canterbury. 
I being at that time very weak in body, and it lay upon 



ISAAC PENINGTOJT. 99 

me from the Lord to go to the meeting, where I found 
him together with Friends waiting in silence upon the 
Lord. And when I had sat down among them, O ! the 
mighty power of the Lord God that descended upon 
us ; so that I could say the fountain of the great deep 
was opened ; and O ! the powerful, pleasant, and crys- 
tal streams, how did they abundantly flow into our 
hearts! And his cup was made to overflow, to the 
watering and refreshing of the tender-hearted ; so that 
God did make me a witness of the seal of his testimony, 
with many more, at those two last meetings." 

The property of Mary Penington lay in that county, 
and after having been among their tenants they spent 
some time at Goodnestone-court, one of her farms in 
the parish of that name.* On the day fixed for his re- 
turn towards his habitationj he became ill, and after a 
week's illness, was removed from this scene ofsuflferin^. 
His disorder was sharp and painful : but the anguish 
gave no disturbance to that internal peace, which was 
so firmly established before it attacked him ; but he 
died, as he had lived, in the faith that overcomes the 
world.f His remains were taken into Buckingham- 
shire, and interred in the burying-ground belonging to 
his beloved friends of Chalfont, at Jordan's near Bea- 
consfield. The record of this event is to be seen in the 
monthly meeting register as follows , " Isaac Penington 
of Woodside, in the parish of Amersham, in the county 
of Bucks, minister of the everlasting gospel, departed 
this life at Goodneston, next Faversham, in the county 
of Kent, on the 8th of the 8th month, 1679, and was 
buried at Jordan's, in the parish of Giles's-Chalfont, in 
the county of Bucks." Thus closed the life of Isaac Pen- 



* Probably Goodwinstone, near Faversham, as Goodnestone and 
Goodwinstone would both by the usual rapidity of speech, be 
pronounced Good'nston. 

t Fenn's TeBtimony. 



100 MEMOIRS OF 

ington, at about the age of sixty-three. He was not 
what is usually termed an old man, but he was probably 
old in constitution, a weakly constitution impaired by 
sorrow and by sufferings, and he seems to have been 
peculiarly endowed with the old age of an unspotted 
life. " Wisdom is the grey hair unto men, and an un- 
spotted life is old age." 

The time he professed himself a member of the des- 
pised people called Quakers was about twenty years. 
That he was in much esteem with them appears from 
the number of his brethren who have commemorated 
him with written memorials, in testimony of their sense 
of his worth. George Fox, William Penn, George 
Whitehead, Samuel Jennings, Ambrose Rigge, Thomas 
Zachary, Robert Jones, Thomas Evernden, Christopher 
Taylor, Thomas Ellwood, and Alexander Parker,* all 



* George Fox, William Penn, and Thomas EJlwood, are charac- 
ters well known, George Whitehead was one of the early con- 
verts to Friends' principles. In his youth he travelled as a minis- 
ter and suffered much. He afterwards fixed his residence chiefly 
at London, and was much occupied in soliciting relief from the ex- 
ecutive government for his suffering brethren. He was also, next 
to George Fox, the most voluminous writer; but his works have 
never been collected. He died in 1722-3, aged about eighty six. 
His journal entitled, " The Christian Progress of that ancient Ser- 
vant and Minister of Jesus Christ, George Whitehead." (fee. is an 
octavo volume of upwards of 700 pages, fraught with information, 
and almost indispensiblc for such as wish to become fully acquaint- 
ed with the history of the Society. 

Samuel Jennings was a countryman of Isaac Penington, and re- 
sided at Aylesbury, but afterwards went to live in New Jersey; 
where he was speaker of the Assembly. He is the author of a 
controversial tract or two relating to the affair of George Keith. 

Ambrose Rigge was of Gatton, and afterwards of Reigate, in 
Surry, an eminent Friend in his time, the author of several tracts, 
one of which, namely, " A brief and serious Warning to such as 
are concerned in Commerce and trading," has been several times 
printed, and is I believe still in print. He died in 1704, He was 
several years imprisoned at Horsham in Sussex. In Surry he was 
excommunicated in 1674, imprisoned in 1676, and in 1683 prosecu- 



ISAAC PEPflNGTON. 101 

gave forth testimonies of this sort, which are prefixed to 
the several editions of Isaac Penington's works, besides 
those of his widow and of his son. The two latter, 



ted in the Exchequer for eleven months' absence from the national 
worship, on the statute, for twenty pounds per month. 

Thomas Zachary was of London, where he died in 1686. He 
was imprisoned, by the oath of perjured informers, on the Conven- 
ticle act, in Aylesbury gaol, where, althoug-h the perjury was prov- 
ed, he was entrapped by the oatli of allegiance and lay about two 
years. One of the convicted informers went to him in the gaol, 
and on his knees begged him to intercede for the mitigation of the 
punishment of perjury ; with which the innocent man complied, 
showing his forgiving. Christian spirit. There are three small pie- 
ces of his writing. 

Of Robert Jones we know little, but that he was a fellow-pri- 
soner with I. P. in 1660, being arrested by armed men at a meet- 
ing, by order of the persecuting Earl of Bridgewater, and commit- 
ted to prison for refusing the oath. It is also possible he was the 
R. J. imprisoned at Newbury, in 1684, for the same cause. 

Thomas Evernden or Everden, was probably of Canterbury. He 
was imprisoned there in 1660, having been taken at a meeting. In 

1663 he was excommunicated for not attending the national wor- 
ship. — Besse's Sufferings, vol. i. 

Christopher Taylor has already been noticed, at page 78. He 
was of Yorkshire, but afterwards kept a school atWaltham Abbey, 
and next at Edmonton. In 1661 he was imprisoned at Aylesbury, 
for being at a meeting, when probably his acquaintance with Isaac 
Penington began. It is probable he was then travelling in the 
south, as he is called C. T. of Yorkshire. I do not find that Jie was 
much molested during his residence in Essex. He died in Penn- 
sylvania in 1686, having been a member of William Penn's coun- 
cil. 

Alexander Parker was also a Yorkshire man, but<;ame to Lon- 
don, where he died in 1682-3. He published several tracts. He 
was imprisoned in 1664 three months in Newgate, having been ar- 
rested whilst speaking in a meeting at Mile-End Green, and in 

1664 he was fined twenty pounds for preaching. He was one of 
those liberated from the King's bench in 1685, by James II. so that 
he must have been again imprisoned. He was an eminent man, 
and a coadjutor to George Whitehead in applications to persons 
in power, for relief to Friends. 

I 2 



102 MEMOIRS OF 

from persons who lived as it were in his bosom, I pro- 
pose to insert. It is natural for surviving relations and 
friends to dwell upon the excellencies of a departed ac- 
quaintance ; but it seems proper for the reader of 
these memorials, and the care is congenial to Isaac Pe- 
nington's wishes and practice^ to ascribe all to the Giv- 
er of every good and perfect gift. " Every good gift 
and every perfect gift cometh down from the Father 
of lights and of spirits ^" and the best temper in which 
to consider the virtues of the pious, is praise to the Al- 
mighty in whose strength they were strong. 

The testimony of John Penington, the son, is as fol- 
lows ; 

" The Testimony of John Penington, to his dear and 
deceased father, Isaac Penington^ 

" Give me leave also to express my sense of him, 
seeing I have been no small sharer in the loss. — A man 
that had known the depths of Satan, and had a stock 
to lose, before he could embrace Truth in the simplici- 
ty of it : yet came forth in clearness : which is the more 
remarkable, inasmuch as few came near him in those 
bright openings and piercing wisdom he was endued 
with in those days, whereby he struck at all false foun- 
dations and professions, and saw their shortness and the 
very thing they wanted. So that when I have taken 
a view of his former writings, and beheld the glory he 
once had, and withal reflected on his present condition, 
on his poverty, on his nothingness, on his self-denial, and 
self-abasement : how little he esteemed all his former 
knowledge, and sights of the heavenly things themselves, 
in comparison of the more excellent knowledge he af- 
terwards received, and how he could be a fool for Christ's 
sake; the thing hath affected me, and not a little, 
many times. O ! he was not one that could deck him- 
self, or desired to appear before men, or his very bre- 
thren; but ever chose to be more to the Lord than to men. 



ISAAC PENlNGTOJf. 103 

And when any have been deeply reached, through his 
tender, yet searching, lively testimony, O how great 
was his care that none might look out too much at the 
instrument, or receive truth in the affectionate part ! 
He was also a meek man, and very loving ; courteous 
to all : ready to serve his very enemies and persecutors; 
of whom some, from an ill opinion of him, were gained 
to love and esteem him. And wherever he entered 
into a friendship with any, he was constant. Whatever 
provocations he might afterwards receive from any of 
them, he could not let go his hold ; but ever retained a 
good-will towards them, and an earnest desire for their 
welfare. I have also observed, where he hath been en- 
gaged on Truth's behalf to rebuke any sharply, who 
were declining from their first love, and deviating from 
the truth as it is in Jesus, it hath been with so much 
reluctancy, and averseness to his natural temper, as I 
never discerned the like in any : and herein 1 am not 
alone. So that it may be safely said he never used the 
rod, but with bowels to reclaim : and in the love was 
drawn to smite what the purest love could not suffer 
to go unrebuked. What he was in the church of God 
for exemplariness, for deep travail, for sound judgment, 
and heavenly ministry, I know, not a few are very sen- 
sible of And have not I seen his cup many times over- 
flow, and him so filled that the vessel was scarce able 
to contain ? O ! it was delightful to me to be with him 
(as it was often my lot) in his service on Truth's ac- 
count ! And my cry is, that I may walk worthy of so 
dear a parent, so unwearied and earnest a traveller 
[trav^ailer] for mine and others' eternal well-being, and 
so faithful and eminent a labourer in God's Vineyard ; 
who is now gone to his rest in a good day, having first 
seen the effects of the travail of his soul, and been satis- 
fied in the Lord. But he hath left us, his children, be- 
hind, for whom he hath often prayed, and besought 
the Lord with tears, ' That we might walk in his steps, 
and our father's God might be our God, and that the 
blessings of our father's life might descend upon us ;' 



104 MEMOIRS OF 

and we are still, after much weakness, upon the stage 
of this world ; which, that it may be so rightly improv- 
ed, that we may walk worthy of the manifold visita- 
tions we have had from him in particular, and many 
faithful labourers in general, is the incessant desire of 
him that hopes, with thankfulness to the Lord, to rever- 
ence his memory, as well as that he honours him in the 
relation of a dear and tender father. 

" JOHKT PeNINGTON." 
» The 9th of 3d month, 1681." 

This testimony has a postscript, from which was ex- 
tracted the account of Isaac Penington's decease alrea- 
dy mentioned. 

This testimony of the son seems a plain man's tribute 
of sincere affection to the memory of a kind father ; 
and shews that the deceased had secured, what it should 
be the aim of all parents to secure, the love and respect 
of his children. The wife, writing under still deeper 
impressions, after the dissolution of a tie more than con- 
jugal, and at an earlier period of her separation from 
her bosom companion, becomes almost poetic. Her tes- 
timony is a song and an elegy, not, however in the 
plaintive language of disconsolation, but fraught with 
images which excite admiration, and with the consol- 
ing balm of acquiescence in the disposition of Provi- 
dence. 

Thus she breaks forth — —" Whilst I keep silent 
touching thee, O thou blessed of the Lord and his peo- 
ple, my heart burneth within me. I must make men- 
tion of thee, for thou wast a most pleasant plant of re- 
nown, planted by the right hand of the Lord; and 
* thou tookest deep rooting downwards, and sprangest 
upward.' The dew of heaven fell on thee, and made 
thee fruitful, and thy fruit was of a fragrant smell, and 
most delightful. O ! where shall I begin to recount the 
Lord's remarkable dealings with thee ! He set his love 
on thee, O thou one of the Lord's pecuhar choice, to 
place his name on. Wast not thou sanctified in the 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 105 

womb 1 Thy very babish days declared of what stock 
and lineage thou wert. Thou desiredst after ' the sin- 
cere milk of the word, as a new-born babe,' even in the 
bud of thy age. O ! who can declare how thou hast 
travelled towards the holy land, in thy very infancy as 
to days ! O ! who can tell what thy soul hath felt in thy 
travel ! O ! thou wast gotten to be in the mount with 
the Lord, and his spiritual Moses, when the princes and 
elders saw but his back parts, and feared, and quaked 
to hear the terrible thunderings in mount Sinai. The 
breast of consolation was held out to thee early, and 
thou suckedst thy fill, till the vessel could no longer con- 
tain : for thou couldst not in that fulness, ' see God and 
live' in this tabernacle ; so that thou besoughtest the 
Lord to abate this exceeding excellent glory, and give 
thee such a measure as was food convenient. O ! the 
heavenly, bright, living openings that were given to thee 
many years past ! His light shone round about thee, and 
the book of the creatures was opened to thee, and his 
mysteries (made known to holy men of old, who spoke 
them forth as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost) 
were made known to thee, to discern. Such a state as 
I hav^e never known any in, in that day, have I heard 
thee declare of. O ! this did it please the Lord to with- 
draw and shut up as in one day ; and so leave thee 
desolate and mourning many a day : weary of the night 
and of the day : poor and naked, sad, distressed and 
bowled down. Thou refusedst to be comforted because 
it was a time of night and not day ; and because He 
that was gone was not come. His time of manifesting His 
love was not at hand, but He was as a stranger, or one 
gone into a far country, not ready to return ; and thou 
wouldst accept of no beloved in his absence ; but testi- 
fiedst that He thy soul longed for was not in this or that 
observation, nay, nor opening ; but thy beloved, when 
He came, would sit as a refiner's fire, and would come 
with 'his fan in his hand, and thoroughly purge his 
floor.' No likeness, or appearance, or taking sound of 
words, or visions, or revelations, wouldst thou take up 



106 MEMOIRS OF 

with, instead of him that was life indeed. O ! the 
many years thou puttest thy mouth in the dust, and 
wentest softly and bowed down, and hadst anguish of 
soul, weeping and groaning, panting and sighing ! O ! 
who can tell the one half of the bitterness of thy soul ! 
Because substance was in thine eye, all shadows did fly 
away from before thee. Thou couldst not feed on that 
which was not bread from heaven." 

" In this state 1 married thee ; and my love was 
drawn to thee, because I found thou sawest the 
deceit of all notions, and layest as one that refused 
to be comforted by any thing that had the appear- 
ance of religion, till He came to his temple, who is 
truth and no lie. For all those shows of religion, were 
very manifest to thee, so that thou wert sick and weary 
of them all. And in this, my heart cleft to thee, and 
a desire was in me to be serviceable to thee in this de- 
solate condition ; for thou wast alone and miserable in 
this world, and I gave up much to be a companion to 
thee in this thy suffering. O ! my sense, my sense of 
thee and thy state in that day, even makes me as one 
dumb, for the greatness of it is beyond my capacity to 
utter." 

" This little testimony, to thy hidden life, my dear 
and precious one, in a day and time when none of the 
Lord's gathered people knew thy face, nor were in any 
measure acquainted with thy many sorrows and deep 
wounds and distresses, have I stammered out ; that it 
might not be forgotten that thou wast in the land of the 
living, and thy fresh springs were in God, and light was 
on thy Goshen, when thick darkness covered the peo- 
ple. But now that the day is broken forth, and thou 
wert so eminently gathered into it, and a faithful pub- 
lisher of it, I leave this bright state of thine to be declar- 
ed of by the sons of the morning, who have been wit- 
nesses of the rising of that bright star of righteousness 
in thee, and its guiding thee to the Saviour, even Jesus, 
the First and the Last. They, 1 say, who were strong, 
and have overcome the evil one, and are fathers in 
Israel, have declared of thy life in God, and have pub- 



ISAAC PENIiYGTON. 107 

lished it in many testimonies here to the glorious, saving 
Truth, that thou wert partaker of, hvedst, and passedst 
hence in, as in a fiery chariot, into the eternal habita- 
tion, with the holy saints, prophets, and apostles of 
Jesus." 

" Ah me ! he is gone ! he that none exceeded in 
kindness, in tenderness, in love inexpressible to the rela- 
tion as a wife. Next to the love of God in Christ Jesus 
to my soul, was his love precious and delightful to me. 
My bosom one ; that was as my guide and counsellor ! 
my pleasant companion ! my tender, sympathising 
friend ! as near to the sense of my pain, sorrow, grief 
and trouble, as it was possible ! Yet this great help and 
benefit is gone ; and 1, a poor worm, a very little one to 
him, compassed about with many infirmities, through 
mercy let him go without an unadvised word of discon- 
tent, or inordinate grief. Nay, further, such was the 
great kindness of the Lord showed to me in that hour, 
that my spirit ascended with him in that very moment 
that his spirit left his body ; and I saw him safe in his 
own mansion, and rejoiced with him, and was at that 
instant gladder of it, than ever I was of enjoying him in 
the body. And from this sight my spirit returned again 
to perform my duty to his outward tabernacle, to the 
answer of a good conscience. 

" This testimony to dear Isaac Penington, is 

from the greatest loser of all that had a 

share in his life, 

" Mary Penington." 

^' This was written at my house at Wood- 
side, the 27th of the Second month, 1680, 
between twelve and one at night, whilst 
I was watching with my sick child." 



108 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAP. VI. 



Account of his widow — her state of mind — her daughter Gulielma 
Fenn — laid up with a fever at Edmonton — her state of mind 
when ill, and ailing — her fear of death removed — dies at Worm- 
inghurst, Sussex. 

Mary Penington did not very long survive her hus- 
band. It is probable the ruin of the estate of Isaac 
Penington, had been the means of encumbering that of 
his wife. We find her writing thus in the year 1680. 
" Now the Lord hath seen good to make me a widow, 
and leave me in a desolate condition, as to my guide 
and companion ; but He hath also mercifully disentan- 
gled me as to my worldly afl[airs, and I am in a very 
easy state. I have often desired of the Lord to make 
way for my waiting upon Him without distraction, and 
living to Him free from all encumbrances ; therefore I 
most thankfully, in a deep sense of his gracious and kind 
dealings, receive the disposing of my possessions from 
Him. And now, through the kindness of the Lord, I 
have cleared my estate of great part of the mortgage, 
and paid most of my bond-debts, so that I can easily 
compass my affairs. And, this Fourth month, 1680, I 
have made my will, leaving a handsome provision for 
my children, besides a sufficiency to pay my debts and 

legacies." " These things being settled, my mind is 

at liberty : and in regard to my outward condition and 
habitation, every thing is to my heart's content. Hav- 
ing no great family, I live retired, and have leisure to 
apply my heart unto wisdom : yet I am at times mourn- 
ing the loss of my worthy companion, and [am] also 
exercised by the great sickness and weakness of my 



ISAAC PENINGTON. 109 

children." — " I am sensible of death and have no desire 
for life, feeling a satisfaction that I leave my children 
in an orderly way ; and that they have less need of me 
than when my affairs were entangled." It may be re- 
marked that her eldest daughter, by her former hus- 
band, had been about eight years married to William 
Penn. It is probable that he had received with her 
the estate of Worminghurst in Sussex, where he appears 
to have been residing when he set out, in 1677, for his 
travels in Holland and Germany ; yet one expression of 
his renders it dubious. " The next day I went to my 
own mother's in Essex." This seems to denote that 
Worminghurst still belonged to Mary Penington ; yet 
on his return he says, " I went to Worminghurst, my 
house in Sussex." 

Some time after settling her outward affairs, Mary 
Penington went to visit her younger children, then at 
school at Edmonton ; and was there laid up with a fever, 
which had the appearance of proving mortal. She 
thus describes her condition. " It pleased the Lord — 
to visit me with a violent, burning fever, beyond any I 
had felt since I was born. Indeed it was very tedious, 
insomuch that I made my moan in these doleful words, 
Distress ! Distress ! feeling that those words compre- 
hended sickness, uneasiness, want of rest, ill accommo- 
dations in the place, together with the continual noise 
of the school, and but little attendance, and the thought 
of being so far from home, where I should not have 
wanted any alleviation that could be procured." — <♦ I 
had scarce time or ability in all this illness, to have 
spent a quarter of an hour in settling my worldly affairs, 
if they had been to do ; but such was the kindness and 
mercy of the Lord to me, that He put it into my heart 
to consider, that it might so happen that I should not 
return home, as it was with my dear husband ; that so 
I might be prepared to wait on the Lord in my sickness, 
and, if it was his will, to lay down this body, without 
any distraction from outward concerns. These memo- 
rable dealings of the Lord with me, I now recount, in 

K 



110 MEMOIRS OF 

an humble sense of his mercy : being in my bed, unre- 
covered of my forementioned illness, which has now 
been of about three months' continuance." Thus did 
this pious woman appear to obey the apostolic injunc- 
tion, " In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of 
God in Christ Jesus concerning you." — But hear her go 
on, " And now it is in my heart, in the holy fear of the 
Lord, to declare to you, my dear children, of what ser- 
vice it is to me in my sickness, that I have nothing to 
do, but to die. For the Lord was pleased to assure me 
of his favour, and that 1 should not ^o down to the pit 
with the wicked, but should have a mansion, according 
to his good pleasure, in his holy habitation : the know- 
ledge of which kept me in a quiet frame, free from the 
sting of death, and without the least desire to live. Yet 
I did not witness any measure of triumph or joy ; never- 
theless I could often say, It is enough, in that I am still, 
and have not a thought day or night, of any thing that 
is to be done, in preparation for my going hence." 
These consoling declarations were WTitten at home, 
whither she had, though ill, been able to arrive about 
eleven weeks after the attack of fever at Edmonton; 
but it seems clear that she had been previously unwell, 
for in another writing dated two months after this, she 
speaks of the duration of illness as of nearly a year ; and 
there is ground to believe that the stone was one of 
the means of her bodily affliction. "This morning," 
(says she, 27th Fourth month, 1681), " as I was waiting 
on the Lord with some of my family, I found an inclina- 
tion in my mind to mention the continuance of my ill- 
ness unto this day ; which from the time of my being 
first visited with it, wants not many wrecks of a year : 
in all which time, such was the goodness of the Lord to 
me, that, as it was taid of Job, * In all this he sinned 
not, nor charged God foolishly,' so 1 may say, through 
the presence of his power with me. In all this time I 
have not felt a murmuring nor complaining mind. But 
this hath been my constant frame, It is well. I have 



ISAAC PENINGTON. Ill 

no grievous things to undergo, except in these late fits 
of the stone, which have been full of anguish and mise- 
ry ; in which time of extreme suffering, I have earnest- 
ly cried to the Lord for help and direction for means of 
removing my pain. These seasons excepted, I have not 
asked any thing of the Lord concerning life or health ; 
but have rather felt a satisfaction in being debarred 
of every thing that might be acceptable to my senses. 
The Lord hath graciously stopped my desires after eve- 
ry pleasant thing, so that I have not been uneasy in 
this my long confinement ; for the most part to my bed, 
and to this present day to my chamber ; in which I 
have had but little comfort either from food or sleep. 
Yet I am not solicitous for health or strength, the rehsh 
of my food or refreshment from rest : nor yet for 
ability to walk about my house, or into the air, to 
take a view of the beautiful creation : because in this 
tried state I have been near to the Lord, with much 
less distraction than when T was in health. And many 
times I have said within myself. Oh ! this is very 
sweet and easy, thus to witness the Lord to make 
my bed in my sickness ; and hold my eyes waking to 
converse with him ! — Death has been many times 
before me. I have rather entreated it, than shrunk 
from it, having generally found in my spirit a kind of 
yielding to die ; as it is sometimes expressed, * He yield- 
ed up the ghost. '' 

" My mind has been" [was] " attended with fear- 
ful apprehensions of death all my days, I may say, 
till I came to be settled in the Truth, and lived 
under a happy subjection to it : but now the fear of 
death, that is, as to my state after death, is at this 
present removed : but there remains a deep sense of 
that passage, how hard, strait, and difficult, it is many 
times, even to those over whom the second death hath 
no power." 

It however doth not appear that this sickness 
ended in her dissolution, at least that it was the 



112 MEMOIRS, &C. 

means of confining her for the remainder of her time, 
to the house. She lived more than a year after 
this, and departed at Worminghurst in Sussex, the 
18th of the Seventh month, 1682. It is probable 
her remains also were interred at Jordan's, as her de- 
cease is registered in the same register as that of her 
husband. 



REVIEW 



OF THE 



WRITINGS 



ISAAC PENINGTON 



IN TWO PARTS. 



Part 1. 



A Review of those published before he joined the Society 
of Friends, 

Part 2. 

A Review of those which he published after that period, 
or which have been published in the Collection of his 
Works since his decease, 

K 2 



REVIEW, 

&c. 



PART. I. 



Review of the writings of Isaac Penington before he became a 
member of the Society of Friends. 

It has been said that Isaac Penington commenced au- 
thor, before he commenced a professor with the Society 
of Friends. The following pieces of his issued from the 
press prior to that event. 

1. A touchstone or tryall of faith by the origin all from 
whence it springs, and the root out of which it grows : 
held out by way of exposition of the 12 and 13 
verses of the first chapter of John's gospel, and of the 
six former verses of the third chapter, which treat 
expressly about this point : intended not for the dis- 
quiet of any, but for the eternall rest and peace of 
all, to whom the Lord shall please to make it 
useful thereunto. To which is added, the spiritual! 
practice of Christians in the primitive times. 4to. 
1648. 

Our author was then about thirty-two years old. 
The texts upon which he descanted, as well as his man- 
ner of explaining them, indicate that a preparation of 



116 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

heart had then begun in him, for the reception of the 
doctrines of a people who have so much relinquished 
outward ceremonies as Friends have done. The two 
verses of John i. are thus : " But as many as received 
Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of 
God, even to them that believe on his name ; which 
were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor 
of the will of man, but of God." The other passage is 
part of the remarkable conference of our Lord with 
Nicodemus ; in opening which, Isaac Penington thus 
explains the being " born of water," or rather what is 
meant by water. " By water," says he, " is meant the 
knowledge of God in Christ, the sight of God in the face 
of Christ, wherein eternall life consists. ' H thou hadst 
known the gift of God, &.c. thou wouldst have asked of 
Him, and He would have given thee living water,' &c. 
John iv. 10. What is this living water? Why 'this is 
life eternall, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ whom thou hast sent.' John xvii. 3. The hea- 
venly doctrine of life and salvation is often expressed in 
scripture by this tearm of Water. * My doctrine shall 
drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew.' 
Deut. xxxii. 2. and Isa. Iv. 10. Heb. vi. 7. As God is 
the fountain, whence all the life and sweetnesse of the 
creature flows, whether natural! (Isa. Ixv. 9.), or spirituall 
(Jer. ii. 13.), so those beames of eternall light, those 
streamings forth of life, which issue out from God, in 
the knowledge of Jesus Christ, they are waters from 
this fountaine. 2. What is it to be born of water ? It 
notes that fundamental and radicall change, which is 
made in the heart by the power of the truths of Christ, 
conveyed thither, and working there," which he goes 
on to describe more at large. — Water, thus defined, be- 
ing the means of regeneration, he describes the Spirit 
as the agent who applies them. Thus he seemed then 
to have made a near approach to the tenets, in which 
he afterwards lived and died. — The spiritual practice 
of Christians in the primitive times, is drawn from Ephes. 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOIT. 117 

iv. 2. as consisting in humbleness, meekness, long-sufferiDg, 
and forbearing one another in love. 

His next piece has this singular title : 

2. The great and sole troubler of the times, represent- 
ed in a mapp of miserie : or a glimps at the heart of 
man, which is the fountain from whence all misery 
flows, and the source into which it runs back. Drawn 
with a dark pencil, by a dark hand, in the midst of 
darkness. 4to. 1649. 

It is a discourse, systematically arranged on Jer. xvii. 
9, 10. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and 
desperately wicked : who can know it ? I, the Lord, 
search the heart, I try the reins." The preface turns 
upon the propensity of parties and persons, to detect 
each other's faults and to overlook their own. The bo- 
dy of the work shows the pride, covetousness, envy, un- 
righteousness, enmity, cruelty, unbelief, and hypocrisy, 
that prevail in the hearts of men. 

Our author's next piece of which we have an account, 
and of which copies remain, is 

3. A voyce out of the thick darkness ; containing in it a 
few words to Christians, about the late and present 
posture of spiritual affairs among them : together with 
a postscript about darkening the counsel of God : as 
also some scripture-prophecies concerning some trans- 
actions in the later times. 4to. 1650. 

A specimen of this work has already been given at 
page 14. In the title-page of this work he calls himself 
Isaac Penington (junior), Esq. which title is also in 
several other of his books ; but dropped when he be- 
came a Friend, It is a title that is now lavished on 
persons having no claim to it, and wi(h little distinction ; 



118 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

but which, I think, should not be assumed by Friends, 
above all men. It is supposed to be derived from scuti- 
fer, through the French word icuyev, and it is general- 
ly rendered in law-latin, armiger. Thus its military 
cast renders it peculiarly unsuitable for us. 

The next piece also has a remarkable title. 

4. Light or darkness, displaying or hiding itself, as it 
pleaseth, and from or to whom it pleaseth : arraign- 
ing, judging, condemning, both the shame and glory 
of the creature, in all its several breakings forth from, 
and appearances in, the creature : held forth to pub- 
like view in a sermon, a letter, and several other open- 
ings. 4to. 1650. 

With reference to this are the pieces called 

5. Severall fresh inward openings (concerning severall 
things) which the day will declare of what nature 
they are, to which judgment they appeal for justice, 
being contented either to stand or fall by it : and being 
likewise ready to kiss that condemnation which they 
are likely to meet with in the mean time, from all 
sorts of men, whom they finde ready to deal hardly 
with them. 4to. 1650. 

And 

6. An Echo from the great deep, containing further in- 
ward openings, concerning divers other things, upon 
some whereof the principles and practices of the mad 
folks do much depend : as also the life, hope, safety, 
and happiness of the Seed of God is pointed at, which, 
through many dark, dismal, untrodden paths and 
passages (as particularly through an unthought of 
death and captivity) they shall at length be led unto. 
4to. 1650. 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON". 119 

These appear to be deep cogitations in a deeply ex- 
ercised mind ; and often expressed in terms ac which 
even the pious at this day would revolt, and which the 
wise would contemn. But it seems to be the author's 
object to lay in the dust all the wisdom, as well as all 
the righteousness of man, that immoveable and eternal 
righteousness may be produced and remain. In a su- 
perficial glance over these pieces (for I do not pretend 
to have read them through), the following short defini- 
tion claimed my attention. " To trust God with all one 
is, or hopes, for ever, this is true faith." Tn another 
place the undermentioned thoughts occur. " O shallow 
man, when wilt thOu cease measuring God by the eye 
of thy reason ? Wilt thou say it must be thus and thus, 
because thou canst not see how it can be otherwise?" 
— A proper query for the great reasoners of this age ! 
We may also find another beautit^ul definition of faith. 
" Faith is the divine instinct of the new nature in the 
new creature; whereby it naturally knoweth, and go- 
eth forth towards God as its centre." — " O man," says 
he in another place, "Behold thy Saviour. Know thy 
life. Do not despise eternity, because of its appearing 
in, and acting through, mortality. This is He who 
came to redeem thee, to be a propitiatory sacrifice for 
thee, and a pattern to thee. Art thou able to measure 
God in any work of his, through the creature ? Thou 
knowest thou art not. Then why dost thou measure 
him so confidently in his greatest work, through his 
Christ, even the work of redemption, and so apparently 
contradict him in it ?" The mere man of reason would 
probably charge all these writings with mysticism. It 
is probable that they will find the most ready an- 
swer in the mind that has undergone the deepest hid- 
den distress. The last of them, however, seems the most 
free from the unusual style which pervades the two 
former and may probably have been written when the 
author's broken spirit was in some degree again bound 
up. 



120 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

7. The fundamental right, safety, and liberty of the 
people (which is radically in themselves, derivative- 
ly in the parliament, their substitutes or representa- 
tives) briefly asserted. Wherein is discovered the 
great good or harm which may accrue unto the peo- 
ple by parliaments, according to their different tem- 
perature and motions. Together with some propo- 
sals conducing towards an equal and just settlement 
of the distracted state of this nation : as likewise a 
touch at some especial properties of a supream good 
governor or governors. 4to. 1651. 

Of this tract a few extracts have been given in the 
course of these memoirs, pp. 16 to 17, in order to show 
the benevolence and moderation of the author in mat- 
ters relating to government. As, in his day, as well as 
in preceding and succeeding times, governments have 
assumed to themselves the regulating of religion, one 
more quotation may not be improper to shew Isaac 
Penington's manner of speaking on that subject, before 
he had fallen under the oppression of laws made to co- 
erce the liberty of conscience. He is speaking of two 
kinds of employment unsuitable for parliaments. " The 
one is," says he, " meddling with spiritual affairs. The 
constituting of these, the amending of these, the alter- 
ing of these, is only proper to such as are invested with 
spiritual authority. The laws of Christ were never 
appointed to be set up by the power of man ; but by 
the power of his Spirit in the conscience. It is account- 
ed profane, and much startled at, to touch that which 
7nan hath made holy, which man hath separated 
and consecrated to divine use; and yet how pro- 
pense are almost all persons to be laying hands on 
that which God hath made holy and set apart for him- 
selfr 

The life of a Christian, which is a lamp kindled and 
hghted from the love of Christ, and most naturally 



OF ISAAC PEiMNGTON. 121 

discovereth its original, by the purity, integrity, and 
fervency of its motion, in love to its fellow-partners 
in the same life : briefly displayed in this its peculiar, 
and distinguishing strain of operation. Also some 
few catechistical questions concerning the way of 
salvation by Christ. Together with a postscript about 
religion. 4to. 1653. 

A part of this is a diffuse exposition of some of those 
passages in the 14th and 15th chap, of John, which re- 
late to love. The author, noticing the sort of love en- 
joined to Christians, " As I have loved you," attempts 
to describe the love of Christ to man, as to its intensity, 
purity, and the peculiarity of its seeking out its ene- 
mies. He shows the profitableness of this love; and 
gives some directions for the attainment. I am some- 
what struck with the following lines near the conclu- 
sion. " There is yet a more excellent way, and more ex- 
cellent things than are now thought-of, which will be ma- 
nifested in due time. But it is very dangerous striving to 
ascend up to them aforehand : the sweetest and safest 
way is to wait the season of their descent. The deep 
sense of the want whereof, with an assured expecta- 
tion, and quiet waiting and groaning for, is the best 
strain of religion, of the purest stamp, of any I know 
extant." 

In the postscript, I meet with one of those passages, 
which show that the profession of religion under which 
Isaac Penington at length settled, was not altogether a 
strange and novel thing to him. Speaking of the differ- 
ence of the light which the primitive Christians had, 
from that which satisfied the professors of his time, he 
says, " We reason ourselves into truths and practices, 
as any other man might do. I do not say that this 
should not be done ; for the human spirit is to go along, 
and to have its own light with it too ; but I cannot but 
say, that this is not enough." 

9. A considerable question about government (of very 

L 



122 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

great importance in reference to the state of the pre- 
sent times) briefly discussed. With a necessary ad- 
vice to the governors and governed. 4to. 1653. — 1 
sheet. 

The author thus states his question. " The question 
is this : Which is better, both for the good, safety and 
welfare, both of the governors and governed, Absolute, 
or Limited authority?" 

" Absoluteness is a full power of government without 
interruption, without rendering an account, residing in 
the breast, will, or conscience of the governor or gover- 
nors." 

" Limitation is a circumscribing of this power within 
such certain bounds as the people, for whose sake and 
benefit government is, shall think fit to confine it unto, 
for their good and security." 

After showing the benefit of absolute government 
from its prompt execution, and ready remedy for un- 
foreseen evils ; and on the other hand its proneness to 
degenerate into tyranny, he gives it as the plain result, 
that " Absoluteness is best in itself, but limitations are 
safest for the present condition of man." His advice to 
the governors is, " That they undertake not to bring 
forth that which is not in them:" showing how the 
Long Parliament had failed ; and doubting the army, 
then in power. His advice to the governed is, " Ex- 
pect not that fruit from your governors, the root of 
which is not in them. Did man ever bring forth righte- 
ousness and peace 1 Have ye not yet had enough 
of looking for reformation and amendment of things, 
from this or that party ?" Finally he shows that nothing 
but the Spirit of Christ can settle the nation. — It is a 
lively Uttle piece. 

10. Divine Essays, or considerations about several 
things in Religion of very deep and weighty concern- 
ment, both in reference to the state of the present 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 123 

times, as afeo of the Truth itself. With a lamenting 
and pleading postscript. 4to. 1654. 17 sheets. 

These essays are divided into the following sections ; 
" 1. Of knowledge in general. 2. Scripture knowledge. 
3. Radical or original knowledge. 4. Of the Word, 
the Spirit, and faith, under each administration, both 
that of the law, and that of the gospel, with a hint at 
their further tendency. 5. Some few observations 
touching the principles of the Ranters. 6. Of the va- 
rious false new births and the true one, which are dis- 
tinguished by their root and nature. 7. Of the true 
nature and vertue of the kingdom of God. 8. Of the 
weakness, uncertainty and invalidity of the flesh, in re- 
ference to the things of God. 9. Of the certainty of 
Christ, in his knowledge concerning the things of God, 
and particularly of his well grounded testimony con- 
cerning the w^ay to life ; and consequently of the cer- 
tainty of the knowledge and testimony of his seed in 
their generations, they being of the same life and na- 
ture with Him. 10. Of the liberty of the kingdom, 
which was outward and shadowy in that dispensation 
of the sjospel by Christ and his apostles ; but inward 
and substantial, both before, then, and after that dis- 
pensation, yea, and for ever : w4iich liberty, although 
it be very large, yet is limited by the law of its own 
life and nature, 11. Of the low ebb, which the Lord 
Christ was brought to, by his death and sufferings. 12. 
Of the low estate, which the seed of Christ are reduced 
to, by their death and sufferings. 1 3. The course and 
end of man. 14. The happy end of the holy nature 
and course of the Seed of life, which the Spirit of life, 
through all the various dark paths of sin, death and mi- 
sery, most faithfully guideth it unto ; or. The sweet 
and happy end of the righteous." 

It is prol)able that there will appear in the tenth 
head, an incongruous expression. I refer to the word 
shadowy, as applied to the gospel. 

In the following passage, taken from the postscript, 



124 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

the author appears to have made a near approach 
to that faith, in which he afterwards lived and finished 
his course. 

" O consider this, if ye love your souls ! It is not a 
building upon Christ after the flesh (it is not either a be- 
leeving or obeying from any rational knowledg, from a 
knowledg of the understanding, though the heart and 
affections be never so much heated therewith, accom- 
panying it never so vigourously) which will save any 
man ; but a building of a 7iew nature upon the new na- 
ture of Christ. It must be a building of a new nature, 
for Christ saveth his building, his people, his seed, his 
church ; and it must be built or founded upon the new 
nature of Christ : for Christ himself saveth, not accord- 
ing to the oldness of the letter, but according to the new- 
ness of the Spirit."" 

11. — Expositions, with observations sometimes, on seve- 
rall Scriptures. Divided into four parts. 1. An ex- 
position on Christ's sermon as it is related in the 
fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew's gos- 
pel. 2. The sum or substance of Jerusalem's song 
of triumph, being an exposition of the first ten vers- 
es of the second chapter of the first book of Samuel. 
3. A basket of fragments, containing chiefly exposi- 
tions upon particular select scriptures, somewhat pro- 
miscuously set down. 4. An exposition on the first 
epistle of John. — 4to. 1656. about 94 sheets. 

The first, second, and fourth of these divisions are 
on the general plan of expositors. The verse is first 
recited, and then the exposition ; which is for the most 
part diffuse. The third part is written on a dilferent 
plan, and has the following subdivisions ; 

" 1. The right enterance into true wisdom. From 
Prov. ix. 10. 

2. The true way of sight and the things most desira- 
ble to be seen. Ephes. i.^17, 18, 19. 

3. The cleer fight and sight of God. Psal. cxxxix. 
12. 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOX. 125 

4. The first tipe of the two seeds. Gen. iv. 1 to 
13. 

5. The transient, yet present light. 2 Pet. i. 19. 

6. Christ, the universal light. John i. 9. 

7. The times of refreshment. Acts iii. 19. 

8. A distinction ahout Orphanship. John xiv. 18. 

9. The ground of the world's hatred against the seed 
of Christ, or the true and chief ground of persecution, 
which alwaies hath been and still is the ground, though 
it was never so acknowledged : from John xv. 19. 

1 0. The best defence against the world or worldly 
spirit, which is the wisdom and innocency of the re- 
newed spirit. Mat. x. 16. 

11. Two questions concerning Christ. 

12. The anointing and function of Christ. Isaiah Ixi. 
1,2,3. 

13. The sweet invitation, reproof and direction of 
Christ, to wandering souls. Isaiah Iv. 1, 2, 3. 

14. The sweetness, goodness and kindness of God's 
nature, with its great efficacy in the day of his power. 
Psal. xxxvi. 7, 8, 9. 

15. A Tast of the breathings, pantings, waitings, and 
hopes of Israel after the true Saviour, and his effectual 
redemption. Psal. Ixxxv. 

16. The two main props and pipes of Faith ; viz. 
Knowledg and experience. 

17. The distresse and perplexity of Sion ; her fideli- 
ty therein, and her faithful comforter and deliverer ; 
represented in some declarations from ch. li. of Isaiah. 

18. The proper nature, and sweet benefits of afflic- 
tions. Heb. xii. 11. 

19. The design and work of God in all his dispensa- 
tions, with a glance at the mistery of this design and 
work. Ezek. xvii. 24. 

20. Man's way to life rejected, and a way of a dif- 
ferent nature made choice of by God. 1 Cor. i. 21 to 
26. 

21. The wisdom of God despised and rejected, even 
in all its appearances, by the spirit of this world ; but 

L 2 



126 REVIEW OP THE WRITINGS 

still justified by the light and spirit of life in his children, 
Matth. :xi. 16 to 20. 

22. Man's right temper and practice. Eccles. xii. 
12, 13. 

23. The severity of God against corrupt shepherds, 
who will rescue his flock from them. Ezek. xxxiv. 
2. 

24. The estate of Christ's kingdom at his coming, as 
it is represented in the parrable of the wise and foolish 
virgins. Matt. xxv. 1 to 13. 

25. Brief observations on part of the first chapter of 
the second epistle to the Thessalonians ; but chiefly on 
those verses which concern the great Rest or Salvation, 
and the great Trouble or Destruction, both which are, 
in the end, to be impartially opened and dispensed. 

26. The danger of exaltation of a man's spirit over 
others. Matth. v. 22. 

27. The conclusion, containing a brief relation con. 
cerning myself; with a faithful beam of light which 
may be of service to such, as are not yet translated 
out of the dark spirit of this world into the true lieht of 
life." ^ ^ 

This large volume, like all Penington's early wri- 
tings, is out of print, and not likely to be again edited. 
1 have never seen more than two copies of it. As a 
specimen, though short and slight, of the author's man- 
ner and temper of mind, I present the reader with an 
extract from the 14th section of the "Basket of Frag- 
ments," entitled, " On the sweetness, goodness, and 
kindness of God's nature," &c. being an exposition of 
the 7th, 8th, and 9th verses of the 36th Psalm. The 
7th verse is this: " How excellent is thy loving-kind- 
ness, O God ! therefore the children of men put their 
trust under the shadow of thy wings." 

'*The children of men are in a weary land, in a 
scorching and tempestuous country, in a city closely be- 
sieged and scanty of provision ; they want shade, they 
want shelter, they want rescue, they want relief The 
enemy persecuteth them, yea, hath seized upon their 



or ISAAC PENINGTON-. 127 

life and is devouring it. Their precious soul is daily 
hunted and taken. They are made very miserable by 
enemies and dangers, both within and without them ; 
which though few at present discern particularly, yet 
it is so plainly written in the state of all men, that he 
that runs may read it. For what man can fly from the 
death of his body ? Or what man can endure or es- 
cape the pains of the Heath of his soul ? O, how will 
men cry to the mountains to fall on them, and to the 
rocks to cov^er them, when once their misery approach- 
eth ! Surely, surely, very precious will be a shelter in 
the day of calamity ! Now God hath wings, such wings 
as cast a shadow sufficient to shelter the sons of men 
from all misery. They are a proper help, a proper re- 
lief, from sin, from dealh, from hel, from whatsoever 
can afTright or afflict poor miserable man. They can 
cover man, and keep him secure from all that can dis- 
turb him. And when once man comes to be sensible 
of this, to understand his own need, the sutableness of 
this remedy for him, and the great kindness of God in 
affording it him he will speedily resort unto it, * There- 
fore do the children of men,' &c. 21ie7'efore ; Because 
of thy kindness, because of the excellency of thy kind- 
ness, because of the openness of thy nature to that 
which is miserable, and which none can help. There 
is that in the nature of God which (were it discovered 
to them) the whole creation could not but trust, only it 
is hid from their eyes, which, necessitateth for the pre- 
sent this course of misery. — Therefore ; Because of the 
excellency of its nature, because the children of men 
see the truth and fulnesse of this kindnesse; they see it 
to be such, as that it is impossible for it to refuse the 
relief of any thing that runneth to it, ('Him that cometh 
to me, 1 will in no wise cast out,') therefore do they 
seek shelter under it, and with confidence repose their 
weary souls there. Indeed, if it were but a kindness of 
man, though raised to never so great a degree, there 
were not sufficient ground to trust it." 

" But such is the nature of God, that were it but 



128 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

known, it could not but be trusted. So kind is God that 
the greatest sinner who is most obnoxious to Him, did 
he but know Him, would not fear to put himself into 
his hands." 

Isaac Penington (as is mentioned at page 28) had at 
one time imbibed the doctrine of election and reproba- 
tion, which, as generally understood, consigns to destruc- 
tion the majority of mankind ; but when he wrote the 
volume under review, he seems to have given up that 
doctrine so far, as not to be willing to allow the repro- 
bation of any. — An account has already been given of 
his attainments in religion, and how all the fabric 
which he had reared was broken suddenly to pieces. 
In the conclusion of the part from which these quota- 
tions are made, he recounts this overthrow, and thus 
describes his state when writing. "My soul boweth 
down before Him, blessing his name. Good is the hand 
of the Lord ! Most holy, righteous, sweet, and kind is 
his severity and wrath. But my heart and tongue are 
not yet prepared to speak these things. I will there- 
fore cease, lest He judg me again for taking his name 
in vain. I am now a dark thing, still in the dark, being 
neither what I formerly was, nor yet formed into a ves- 
sel by the potter ; nor yet perfectly broken (though to 
my own sence perfectly broken long ago) : and very 
little made up." 

Another touch or two extracted from another part 
of this large volume, namely, the "Exposition on 
Christ's Sermon," may form an agreeable addition to 
the foregoing. 

" ^s we forgive our debtors.'] This is a strong argu- 
ment with the Father, to move Him to forgive, and to 
the child, to believe its pardon. He that hath taught 
us to forgive, will He not forgive us? Can we find a 
readiness in our spirits, to remit the offences of others ; 
and can we possibly imagine that God can want it ? 
Certainly He that hath wrought this in us, hath also left 
it remaining in himself. He to whom God hath given 
a spirit of forgiving, who cannot but forgive those who 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOI^r. 129 

offend him, may well expect to reap the same measure 
from God ; whose nature engageth Him more to forgive 
his children, than any nature derived from Him can 
teach any to forgive such as injure and provoke them. 
He who finds this wrought in him, hath strong ground 
to believe that God himself cannot but bear the same 
temper of spirit in himself, towards him, which He hath 
wrought in him towards others." 

Again, from ch. 7. 

" Judge notJ] Observ. A judging temper is not fit 
for a disciple, in the eye of Christ. Judging is not an 
action beseeming a disciple : is not such an action as 
Christ alloweth in him." 

" There are two things exceeding lovely in a disci- 
ple, both whereof this is contrary unto. The first is, 
A hrokenness of spirit in himself, for his own vileness. 
Though a man be pardoned for his sin: yet the sight of 
what he was, the remembrance of what was blotted out 
in him (nay of what is still in him and upon him, further 
than the Lord pleaseth of his own free goodness to blot 
it out continually), should keep him very low in his 
own eyes ; even as low as if he were still lying under 
the guilt and condemnation of it. The second is, A 
pity and tenderness of spirit towards sinners. He who 
knoweth the bitterness of his own wound, although he 
be in part healed himself, yet cannot but yearn over 
those who remain still exposed to the bitterness of the 
same wound. How did Christ pity sinners, even the 
most stubborn sinners! ' O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,' &c. 
The more men lie open to judgment, doth not afford us 
the more liberty of judging them ; but the more it 
should excite our pity. It no way becomes a condemn- 
ed person newly pardoned, tojudg his fellow-offenders: 
but to pity them, and to lie abased under the sense of 
his own desert, which, by the meer mercy of the judg, 
he hath lately escaped the danger of," 



130 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 



REVIEW, 

&C. 



PART II. 

Review of the writings of Isaac Penington after he joined 
the Society of Friends, or which have been published in 
the Collection of his Works since his decease. 

In giving an account of the writings of Isaac Pening- 
ton after he had joined the Society of Friends, I cannot 
engage to enter much into their contents. Such a plan 
would swell the catalogue itself into a volume of no in- 
considerable size : and is the less needful as the titles of 
them are generally diffuse. The first is 
1. The way of life and death made manifest, and set 
before men ; whereby the many paths of death are 
impleaded, and the one path of life propounded and 
pleaded for ; in some positions concerning the apos- 
tasy from the Christian spirit and life : with some 
principles guiding out of it : as also an answer to 
some objections whereby the simplicity in some may 
be entangled : held forth in tender good-will both to 
Papists and Protestants who have generally erred 
from the faith for these many generations, since the 
days of the apostles ; and with that which they have 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 131 

erred from are they comprehended. 4to. 1658. 14 

sheets. 

The first edition has in it a piece by Edward Bur- 
rough, and one by George Fox. These are omitted in 
the edition of Penington's works. 

The positions are as follow : 

" 1. That there hath been a great apostasy from the 
Spirit of Christ, and from the true light and hfe of 
Christianity ; which apostasy began in the apostles' 
days, and ripened apace afterwards." 

" 2. That in this great apostasy, the true state of 
Christianity hath been lost." 

" 3. That there is to be a recovery, a true recovery 
out of this state of apostasy, into the true state of Chris- 
tianity again.*' 

" 4. That they that are in those things which have 
been set up in the times of the apostasy, are not yet 
come to the recovery from the apostasy." 

" 5. That the only way of recovery out of the apos- 
tasy is by returning to, and keeping in, that Spirit from 
which the apostasy was." 

The principles mentioned in the title are these^ 

" 1. That there is no salvation but by the true know- 
ledge of Christ." 

" 2. That Christ saves by the new covenant." 

" 3. That the new covenant is written in the heart." 

" 4. That the. Spirit of God alone can write the co- 
venant in the heart."* 

" 5. Therefore the first proper step in religion, is to 
know how to meet with God's Spirit." 

" 6. The first way of meeting with the Spirit of God, is 
as a convincer of sin." 

" 7. That whereby the Spirit of God convinceth of 
of sin, is his light, shining in the conscience." 

" 8. That this light convincing of sin shineth in every 
conscience." 



♦ « Or, that Christ writes the covenant by his Spirit. 



132 EEVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

« 9. The true way to life eternal is by believing 
in the light of the Spirit, which shineth in the con- 
science." 

" 10. ThatbeHeving in the light of the Spirit which 
shines in the conscience, unites the soul to God, and 
opens the springs of life to it." 

These principles, as well as the five positions, are 
discussed at large. Objections to this doctrine are an- 
swered, and there is a particular discussion of the im- 
portant topic. Justification. 

2. The scattered sheep sought after. First, in a la- 
mentation over the general loss of the powerful pre- 
sence of God in his people, since the days of the 
Apostles ; with a particular bewailing of the wither- 
ing and death of those precious buddings-forth of life, 
which appeared in many at the beginning of the late 
troubles in these nations ; with the proper way of re- 
covery for such. Secondly, in some propositions con- 
cerning the only way of salvation ; where is an answer 
given to that great objection, That the light which con- 
vinceth of sin ^ is the light of a natural conscience ; and 
a brief account rendered of the ground of men's un- 
derstanding scriptures. Thirdly in exposing to view 
the fundamental principle of the gospel, upon which 
the redeemed spirit is built. Fourthly, and in some 
questions and answers (by way of catechism for the 
sake of the simple-hearted) directing to that princi- 
ple, and fixing in it. 4to. 1G59, 4 sheets. 2nd ecJit. 
1665. 

The propositions concerning the only way to salva- 
tion are the following four : 

" 1 . That there is no way of being saved from sin, 
and wrath eternal, but by that Christ alone which died 
at Jerusalem." 

" 2. That there is no way of being saved by Him, but 
through receiving Him into the heart by a living faith, 
and having Him formed in the heart." 

" 3. That there is no way of receiving Christ into the 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON, 133 

heart, and of having Him formed there, but by receiv- 
ing the hght of his Spirit, in which light He is, and 
dwells." 

" 4. That the way of receiving the light of the Spirit 
into the heart (and thereby uniting the Father and the 
Son), is by hearkening to and receiving its convictions of 
sin there." 

The fundamental principle of the Gospel is held forth 
in that passage in the 1st Epist. of John, " This then is 
the message which we have heard of Him, and declare 
unto you. That God is light, and in him is no darkness 
at all." It is not easy to abridge the catechism. The 
following winds up the whole. " Let thy religion be to 
feel the pure principle of life in the pure vessel of life ; for 
the eye must be pure that sees the life, and the heart 
that receives it. And faith is a pure mystery, and it is 
only held in a pure conscience. Know that in thee 
that purifies thee ; and then thou knowest Christ, and 
the Father, and the Spirit ; and as that lives, and grows 
up in thee, so shalt thou know their dwelling-place, and 
partake of their life and fulness." 

3. Babylon the Great described, the city of confusion, 
in every part whereof anti-christ reigns ; which 
knoweth not the order and unity of the Spirit, but 
striveth to set up an order and uniformity according 
to the wisdom of the flesh, in all her territories and 
dominions : her sins, her judgments : with some plain 
queries further to discover her ; and some considera- 
tions to help out of her suburbs, that her inward 
building may lie the more open to the breath and 
Spirit of the Lord, from which it is to receive its 
consumption and overthrow. 4to. 1659. 8 sheets. 

The preface to this work is another account of the 
author's religious conflicts and experiences. The work 
itself appears to be a close reproof of all the semblances 
of religion which have been formed and worshipped in 
the world ; and great use is made of the figure of a 



134 REVIEW OF THE WRITIIfGS 

city, and of the mystery of the beast, whore, &c. 
mentioned in the Apocalypse, which are, in many 
particulars, explained, according to the sense given 
to the author. 

4. The Jew outward ; being a glass for the professors 
of this age, wherein, if they read with meekness, and 
in the true light, such of them as have not overslip- 
ped the day of their visitation, may see their own 
spirits, to their own everlasting advantage and com- 
fort, by learning subjection to that which hath power 
in it to destroy the evil spirit in them; contain- 
ing some exceptions and arguments of the Jews 
against Christ's appearance in that body of flesh in 
their days ; which the present professors may view 
and compare with their exceptions and arguments 
against his appearance in spirit in this age ; that they 
may see and consider which of them are the more 
weighty. 4to. 1659. 4 sheets. 

The drift of this piece is to show that, in like manner 
as the Jews rejected Christ, because their knowledge 
and expectations were outward, and gathered from 
their fleshly comprehension of the prophecies concern- 
ing Him ; so the wise professors of the seventeentii cen- 
tury rejected and persecuted his life, as it appeared in 
their day ; and that the natural effect, in every age, of 
walking according to the flesh, is to persecute that 
which is born of the Spirit. The analogy of the two 
cases is exhibited in a striking point of view ; the rea- 
soning upon it close and pertinent ; and the Scripture 
references remarkably apposite. 

5. The axe laid to the root of the old corrupt tree ; 
and the spirit of deceit struck at in its nature ; from 
whence all the error from the life, among both pa- 
pists and protestants, hath arisen, and by which it is 
nourished and fed at this day ; in a distinction be- 
tween the faitl hich is of man, and the faith which 



OF ISAAC PEXINGTON. 135 

is of God ; and in some assertions concerning true 
faith, its nature, rise, &c., its receiving of Christ, and 
its abiding and growing in his living virtue ; with a 
warning concerning adding to, and diminishing from, 
the Scripture in general, and the prophecies of the 
Revelations in particular : discovering what it is, and 
the great danger of it, with the only way of preser- 
vation from it. Whereto is added, a short touch 
about the use of means; as also, a brief history con- 
cerning the state of the church since the days of the 
Apostles ; with an exhortation to the present age. 
By the movings of the life, in a friend of the living 
Truth of the most high God : but an utter enemy to 
the spirit of error and blasphemy, wherever it is 
found, as well in the strictest of the Protestants, as 
among the grossest of the Papists. 4to. 1659. Six 
and a half sheets. 

This makes the fourth in one year. It is a very close, 
searching work. Much of it is employed in detecting 
the marks of the false church, in the various forms un- 
der which it has appeared ; and the deceivableness of 
unrighteousness is set forth by copious allusions to the 
book of the Revelation. The author seems aware that 
his doctrine will find difficult entrance into the minds of 
such as are satisfied with any thing short of the pure 
life; and may even induce some of those who are 
seeking it, to doubt whether they are not deceived : for 
he supposes the following objection, " How difficult do 
you make the way to life, if not utterly impossible 1 If all 
this be true, who can be saved F" 

Answ. " The way to life is very difficult ; yea, and 
impossible to that part in man, which is so busy in will- 
ing and running towards life ; but it is as easy on the 
other hand, to that which the Father begetteth, raiseth 
up, and leadeth. ' The wayfaring man, though a fool, 
shall not err.' The wisest and richest merchants in Ba- 
bylon cannot set one step in it. The least child in Sion 
cannot err there. Therefore, know that in thyself to 



136 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

which it is so hard : and know that which God hath 
given to thee, which will make it easy. Thou hast a 
Hving talent given thee by God : let not thine eye be 
drawn from that ; but join to that, keep there, and thou 
art safe : and that will open thine eye to see all deceits, 
just in the very season and hour of temptation. For 
thou must expect to meet with all these temptations, as 
th)^ growth makes thee capable of receiving them. 
And as they come, the true eye being kept open, they 
will be seen ; and being seen, they will easily be avoid- 
ed in the power of life ; for in vain the net is spread 
in sight of the bird. Therefore that thou mayest be 
safe, ^ 

" 1. Know the light, the eternal light of life, the Httle 
glimmerings and shinings of it in thy soul. This comes 
from the rock, to lead thee to the rock ; and if thou wilt 
follow it, it will fix thee upon the rock, where thou canst 
not be shaken." 

" 2. Keep in the light, keep within the hedge, step 
not out of thine own ; keep out of the circumference of 
the spirit of deceit ; the power of whose witchery and 
sorcery extends all over the regions of darkness." 

" 3. Love simplicity, love the nakedness of life, stand 
single in the honesty of the heart ; out of the intricate, 
subtil reasonings, and wise consultings about things ; for 
by these means the serpent comes to twine about and 
deceive thy soul ; but in the simplicity of the movings 
of hfe, in the light, lies the power, the strength, the 
safety." 

" 4, Lie very low continually, even at the foot of the 
lowest breathing and appearances of the light. Take 
heed of being above that wherein the life lies: for the wis- 
dom, the power, the strength, yea, the great glory lies 
in the humility ; and thou must never be exalted, thou 
must never come out of the humility, but find and enjoy 
the honour and glory of the life, in the humility." 

" 5. Mind the reproofs of the light ; for that will still 
be setting thee to rights. That will still be bringing 
down that which would get up above : and there lies 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON'. 137 

the preservation. Oh the chastenings of the light, the 
sweet chastenings of the love by the hght ! These are 
heahng stripes ! This brings down the exalter, and that 
in thee which loves to be exalted, and to be seeking 
the honour of the spiritual riches, before the humility 
is perfected." 

" Thus, in love of souls, have I poured out my soul 
before the Lord, and held forth gentle leadings, even to 
the most stubborn and stiff-necked." 

In John Whiting's Catalogue, comes in next, 

6. To the Parliament, the Army, and all the well-af- 
fected in the nation, wJio have been faithful to the good 
old Cause. 1659. Half a sheet. 

In Whiting the title ends at " nation," and the piece 
itself is omitted in the Quarto edition. The author re- 
proves the army for having forsaken their first princi- 
ples, and having served the ends of interest and power 
to themselves ; and exhorts the parliament not to se- 
cond such a disposition, but to act for the purposes of 
righteousness. 

7. A Brief Account of some Reasons (amongst many 
that might be given) why those people called Qua- 
kers, cannot do some things on the one hand, and for- 
bear doing of some things on the other hand ; for 
which they have suffered and do still suffer, so much 
violence from the people, and such sore persecution 
from the teachers and magistrates of these nations ; 
whereby it may appear to all, who are willing to 
take any fair consideration of their cause, that their 
sufierings are for righteousness' sake, because of the 
integrity of their hearts towards God, and void of any 
just ground of offence towards man. — JVo date ; pub- 
lished in a broad sheet ; as was also, 

8. Some Considerations proposed to the City of London, 

M 2 



138 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

and the nation of England, to calm their spirits, and 
prepare them to wait for what the l^ord is bringing 
about, that they may not run headily into their ruin 
and destruction ; and by this extraordinary heat of 
their spirits, kindle that fire which will soon devour 
them. With a short exhortation to them relating to 
their true settlement, and the removal of that which 
hinders it. 

The two following were also published about this 
time. 

9. Some Considerations proposed to the distracted Na- 
tion of England, concerning the present design and 
work of God therein; upon their submitting whereto 
doth their settlement alone depend, and not upon any 
form of government, or change of governors : as that 
spirit which seeketh their ruin tempteth them to be- 
lieve. 1659. 

10. To the Army. Very short. 

11. A Question propounded to the Rulers, Teachers^ 
and People of the Nation of England, for them singly 
to answer in their hearts and consciences, in the fear 
and dread of the mighty God of heaven and earth, 
&c. I abridge this long title, and insert a part of the 
question. 

" When this nation was rent from popery (in part I 
mean ; for wholly it was never rent, but did still re- 
main in the same spirit ; though by the magistrate's 
sword it was forced from that form and way of worship 
which the pope had established), did it wait on the Lord 
for the guidance of his Spirit and power, thereby to 
build up a true church and habitation for God in the 
Spirit ? Or did it take such materials as were ready at 
hand, and frame up a building as well as it could, 
wherewith the consciences of many, that were tender- 



or ISAAC PEI^INGTOJr. 139 

hearted towards God, were even then dissatisfied f 4to. 
One sheet. 



1 2. The Root of Popery struck at ; and the true an- 
cient apostolic foundation discovered ; in some pro- 
positions to the papists, concerning falhbility and in- 
fallibility ; which cut down the uncertain, and mani- 
fest the certain way of receiving and growing up into 
the Truth. Also some considerations concerning the 
true and false Church and ministry, with the state of 
each since the days of the apostles ; held forth in true 
love and pity to the souls of the papists, that they 
may hear and consider, and not mistake and stumble 
at the Rock of Ages, whereupon the prophets, apos- 
tles, and whole flock of God, throughout all genera- 
tions have been built. There is likewise somewhat 
added concerning the ground of error, and the way 
to truth and unity, for the sake of such as are 
more spiritual, and have been more inwardly exer- 
cised in searching after truth. 1660. 4to. Three 
sheets. 

The propositions are these : 
" 1. That councils may err." 
" 2. That the pope himself may err." 
" 3. That every man may err, in his interpretation 

of scripture." 

" 4. That if there be any light to be found any where 

shining from God, that light cannot err." 

" 5. That there must necessarily be such a light, 

communicated to all men since the fall." 

" 6. That this being let in, beheved in, and obeyed, 

shineth more and more unto the perfect day ; even 

until it hath wholly brought out of the error, into the 

truth." 

" 7. That nothing less can lead unto eternal life than 

an eternal light in man's spirit." 

In this piece also is frequent reference to the de- 



140 REVIEW OF THE WRlTIIfGS 

scription of the woman and the dragon, in the hook of 
Revelations. 

13. An Examination of the grounds or causes which 
are said to induce the court of Boston, in New-Eng- 
land, to make that order or law of banishment, upon 
pain of death, against the Quakers ; as also of the 
grounds and considerations by them produced, to ma- 
nifest the warrantableness and justice both of their 
making and executing the same ; which they now 
stand deeply engaged to defend, having already there- 
upon put two of them to death. As also, of some 
further grounds for justifying of the same, in an ap- 
pendix to John Norton's book (which was printed 
after the book itself, yet as part thereof) ; whereto 
he is said to be appointed by the general court. And 
likewise of the arguments briefly hinted, in that 
which is called ' A true relation of the proceedings 
against the Quakers,' &c. Whereunto somewhat is 
added about the authority and government, Christ 
excluded out of his church ; which occasioneth some- 
what concerning the true church government. 4to. 
1660. Thirteen sheets. 

I take this to be a choice piece, and far from being 
useless now, or at any time, because the immediate 
cause of its publication is done away. The reader 
will find in it some able defence and elucidation of the 
principles of Friends; clear refutation of the arguments 
for persecuting them, and much of the spirit of love 
and good-will to the persecutors. The matter is well 
summed up, and the excluded, and the allowed autho- 
rity of the church are well described. 

14. A Warning of Love from the bowels of life, to the 
several generations of professors of this age, that 
they may awaken and turn towards the life, to be 
truly cleansed and saved by its powerful living vir- 
tue, before the storm of wrath break forth, and the 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOJf. 141 

overflowing scourge overtake them, which will 
sweep away the strongest and most well-built refuge 
of lies: and sink those souls even into the pit of mi- 
sery, which are there found when the storm comes : 
held forth in four propositions, assertions, or conside- 
rations, concerning man in his lost state, and his re- 
covery out of it. 4to. 1660. One sheet. 

This close piece may be epitomized by taking the 
four assertions, viz. 

" 1. That man is fallen from God." 

" 2. That man, by all the imaginations that can en- 
ter into his heart, and by all the means he can use, or 
courses he can run, cannot return back to God again, 
or so much as desire it." 

" 3. That all professions of God and of Christ upon 
the earth, all knowledge and beliefs whatsoever, with 
all practices and duties and ordinances of worship, save 
only such as proceed from, and are held in, the pure 
life, are but as so many fig-leaves, or deceitful plasters, 
which may skin over the wound, but cannot truly heal 
it." 

"4. That the living seed of eternal life, which God 
hath hid in man underneath his earth, hath in it the 
living virtue, which alone can heal man, and restore 
him to God." 

The subject of this assertion, he also holds forth, in 
another part, which for its brevity and beauty, and 
soundness, I also transcribe. — "That which recovers 
man, is the eternal virtue, the endless power, the life 
immortal, the Christ of God." 

1 5. Where is the wise ? Where is the scribe ? Where 
is the disputer of this world ? Hath not God made 
foolish the wisdom of this world ? 4to» 1660. One 
sheet. 

This text is the title of a piece, printed in his works 
like a postscript to Ihe former ; but it is evidently a dis- 
tinct one, and is so noted in Whiting's Catalogue* 



142 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

16. An Epistle to all such as observe the Seventh-Day 
of the week for a sabbath. — 1660. 

This is also a separate piece, but in the works is on- 
ly to be found in the following. 

17. The new Covenant of the Gospel distinguished from 
the old Covenant of the Law, and the Rest or Sab- 
bath of Believers from the Rest or Sabbath of the 
Jews ; which differ as much from each other, as the 
sign and shadow doth from the things signified and 
shadowed out. In answer to some queries of W. 
Salter's tending to enforce upon Christians the obser- 
vation of the Jewish Sabbath, which was given un- 
der the law to the Jews for a sign : as also to some 
other queries sent in writing, upon occasion of an 
epistle directed to all such as observe the seventh day 
of the week for a sabbath, now under the gospel. As 
likewise some letters to the same purpose ; with a 
brief explication of the mystery of the six days la- 
bour and seventh day's sabbath. Whereto are added, 
some considerations propounded to the Jews, tending 
towards their conversion to that which is the life and 
spirit of the law. 4to. 1 660. Seven sheets : but the 
Considerations to the Jews occupy one, of which the 
pages begin afresh. 

The first of the set of queries to which this book is 
an answer, is, "Whether the fourth commandment, ex- 
pressed Exod. XX. be not moral and perpetual, as well 
as the other nine be, yea or no 1" Our author maintains 
the negative, and shows the spiritual nature of the 
Christian rest. 

Next follows, in Whiting's Catalogue, but not in the 
works, 

18. Some few Queries and Considerations proposed to 
the Cavaliers, being of weighty importance to them. 
4to. No date. One sheet. 



OF ISAAC PENIJfGTON. 143 

It seems to have been written soon after the Resto- 
ration, and is a calm and close expostulation with the 
prevailing party. — " O," says he, " that they could fear 
the Lord for his goodness ; and that those that are fallen 
under them might fear Him for his severity ; and that 
we might all give over upbraiding, and fighting against 
one another, and every man fight against the lusts of his 
own heart ; against pride, passion, envy, covetousness, 
hard-heartedness, oppression of men's consciences, doing 
to others what we would not receive from others, &c., 
for the hand of God is swift against the unrighteous 
spirit, and He overturns apace. And if this present 
settlement do not please Him ; but if this generation, 
after all their afflictions, prove themselves unworthy of 
his mercy, not letting fall what the hand of the Lord 
hath gone forth against, but thinking to settle again 
upon firmer foundations what God hath all this 
while been shaking ; the Lord will laugh at their coun- 
sels and at their strength, and overturn them in a mo- 
ment." 

The reader may compare this with the counsels, and 
with the overthrow, of the house of Stewart. 

19. Some Queries concerning the work of God in 
the world, which is to be expected in the latter 
ages thereof; with a few plain words to the nation 
of England, tending towards stopping the future 
breakings-forth of God's wrath, both upon the peo- 
ple and powers thereof; with an Advertisement re- 
lating to the present state of things. 4to. 1 660. One 
sheet. 

This is in some respects similar to the foregoing. 
Near the conclusion, the author says, " It behoves this 
nation to consider what of Babylon may be found in it, 
and to part with it, that it may escape the plagues of 
Babylon, Rev. xviii. 4., which are very bitter, as ver. 7, 
8, &c. These are the two main things whereof Baby- 
lon is guilty : 



144 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

" 1. An invented form of worship, a likeness of the 
true worship, but not the true worship itself. 

" 2. A persecuting, and endeavouring to suppress the 
power of the truth, even of the purity of the godly reli- 
gion and worship, by means of this form ; because for 
conscience' sake, men who are taught otherwise by the 
Spirit of God, cannot submit and subject thereto." 

20. The Consideration of a position concerning the book 
of Common Prayer ; as also of some particulars held 
forth for truths by one Edmund Ellis, stiled a minis- 
ter of the gospel of Jesus Christ : with a warning of 
tender bowels to the rulers, teachers, and people of 
this nation, concerning their church and ministry. 
Likewise, a few words concerning the kingdom, laws, 
and government of Christ in the heart and con- 
science ; its inoffensive ness to all just laws and go- 
vernments of the kingdom of men. 4to. 1660. Four 
sheets. 

This is somewhat of a controversial piece, but our au- 
thor does not seem to have had to do with a railing adver- 
sary ; nor does he treat him with asperity. It cannot well 
be abridged ; but I shall cite two passages,one to show the 
author's sense of the main question ; the other, his state 
of mind, and his estimation of his own talents. 

" Now, as touching the book of Common Prayer, or 
prayers conceived without the immediate breathings of 
the Spirit, I shall speak mine own experience faithful- 
ly, which is this ; I have felt both these ways draw out 
the wrong part, and keep that alive in me which the 
true prayer kills. And he that utters a word beyond 
the sense that God begets in his spirit, takes God's name 
in vain, and provokes him to jealousy against his— soul. 
*God ifi in heaven, thou art on earthy therefore let thy 
words be few.'' The few words which the Spirit speaks, 
or the few, still, soft, gentle breathings, which the Spi- 
rit begets, are pleasing to God, and profitable to the 
soul ; but the many words which man's wisdom affects, 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 145 

hurt the precious Hfe, and thicken the veil of death 
over the soul ; keeping that part alive which separates 
from God ; which part must die, ere the soul can live." 
Vol. i. 408. 

"As for me, I am but a shell ; and if this party knew . 
me (who sets me up so high, preferring me above many 
whom the Lord has preferred far above me), he would 
soon acknowledge me to be a poor, weak, contemptible 
one. Yet this 1 must by no means deny, that the pure 
liquor of the eternal life, at its pleasure, springeth up 
and issueth out through me ; though I can also, in true 
understanding, say, that it issueth out far oftener, and 
much more abundantly, through others." p. 417. 

21. An Answer to that common Objection against 
the Quakers, That they condemn all but them- 
selves ; with a loving and faithful advertisement to 
the nations and powers thereof 4to. 1660. One 
sheet. 

After owning the spirit which actuated the martyrs 
and spiritually- minded men of former days, and depre- 
cating the disposition to stop short in partial reforma- 
tion, our author thus sums up his answer : 

" We are not against the true life and power of god- 
liness, wherever it hath appeared, or yet appears, un- 
der the veil of any form whatsoever. Nay, all persons 
who singly wait upon the Lord, in the simplicity and 
sincerity of their hearts, whether under any form, or out 
of forms (that matters little to us), are very dear unto 
us in the Lord. But we are against all forms, images, 
imitations, and appearances, which betray the simpli- 
city and sincerity of the heart, keep the life in bondage, 
and endanger the loss of the soul. And too many such 
now there are, which hold the immortal seed of life in 
captivity under death ; over which we cannot but mourn, 
and wait for its breaking off the chains, and its rising 
out of all its graves, into its own pure life, power, and 
fulness of liberty in the Lord." 



146 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

22. The great Question concerning the lawfulness or 
unlawfulness of Swearing under the Gospel, stated 
and considered of; for the satisfaction of such as de- 
sire to scan the thing in the weight of God's Spirit; 
and to see the true and clear determination of it in 
this unerring light. 4to. 1661. Two sheets. 

This pamphlet condemns swearing, on the ground of 
the superior purity of the Christian dispensation, to that 
wherein oaths were allowed ; as well as on the prohibi- 
tion of Christ. An objection, probably that which has 
been made from Heb. vi. 17. is answered. 

23. Somewhat spoken to a weighty Question concern- 
ing the Magistrate's protection of the innocent : 
wherein is held forth the blessing and peace which 
nations ought to wait for and embrace in the latter 
days ; with some considerations for the serious and 
wise in heart throughout this nation to ponder, for di- 
verting God's wrath (if possible) from breaking forth 
upon it. Also, a brief account of what the people 
called Quakers desire in reference to the civil govern- 
ment. With a few words to such as by the everlast- 
ing arm of God's power have been drawn and ga- 
thered out of the apostasy, into the living truth and 
worship. 4to. 1661. Two sheets. 

This was published from Aylesbury gaol. An account 
of it is already given, at page 56. 

24. Concerning Persecution ; which is the afflicting or 
punishing that which is good, under the pretence of 
its being evil ; which practice is contrary to the very 
nature of mankind (so far as it is drawn out of the 
corruption and depravation [depravity],) which would 
be good and do good, and have good cherished and 
evil suppressed, both in itself and others. It is con- 
trary also to all equal and righteous government, 
which is for the suppressing of evil and cherishing of 



or ISAAC PENlNGTOIf. 147 

good ; and not for the afflicting and crushing of that 
which is good, upon pretence of its being evil. Yet 
this unhappy error will always be committed in na- 
tions and governments, until the proper right, and 
just liberty of men's consciences be discerned, acknow- 
ledged, and allowed. Likewise, there are some an- 
swers given to that common objection against afford- 
ing conscience its due liberty, because evil persons 
may pretend conscience to escape the just punish- 
ment of their evil deeds. With a brief account of 
that supposed stubbornness, which by many is ob- 
jected against the people called Quakers. Given 
forth in love to this nation, that at length, the true 
bottom and foundation of a lasting peace and settle- 
ment may be espied ; the spirits of the governors and 
people fixed thereon ; and that dangerous rock of 
persecution (whereon both the powers and people of 
this nation have so often spHt) carefully avoided by 
all. 4to. 1661. Four sheets. 
The title itself is a table of contents, which precludes 
the necessity of epitomizing the book. Like many of 
Isaac Penington's writings, it is systematic and perspicu- 
ous, not confused and obscure ; and its several positions 
are treated of with a distinctness, which allows the 
reader to pause as he proceeds, without danger of los- 
ing his clue. I must just cite the concluding paragraph. 
" O ! how happy will the day be, when the Lord shall 
have wrought down the selfish spirit in man, and shall 
have raised up his own noble and equal principle. Then 
shall righteousness spring up, and spread abroad through- 
out the nations ; and ' the work of righteousness shall be 
peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and as- 
surance for ever.' " 

25. Some directions to the panting Soul, which hath 
been long travelling in the letter, but hath not yet 
been acquainted with the power, nor hardly so much 
as entered into the ministration of endless life (which 
is the ministration of the Gospel), that it may feel the 



148 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

spring, and come to drink there of the living waters. 

4to. 1661. One sheet. 

Whiting places this piece after the two following ; but 
from its date it seems more rightly placed in the Works. 
It is difficult to give an outline of so short a work : its 
tenor may be inferred from the motto from Matt. xi. 28 
— 30. "Come unto me all ye that labour," &c. 

26. Concerning the Worship of the living God, which 
He teacheth Israel his people, who know Him to be 
the only true God, and the worship which He teach- 
eth them to be the only true spiritual worship. 
With some questions and answers relating to con- 
version and tenderness of conscience. 4to. One 
sheet. 

It is easy to see that spiritual worship, free from any 
mixture of man's will or wisdom, is what the author en- 
forces ; he notices the springing up of such a worship in 
his day ; and he foretells a day, in which " it will be as 
honourable to wait for the movings of the Spirit, and 
to worship alone therein, as now it is reproachful." 

27. To all such as complain that they want power ; 
not applying themselves to yield subjection to what 
of God is made manifest in them, upon a pretence 
of waiting for power so to do. 4to. 1661. Two 
sheets. 

I shall rather aim at giving a specimen, than an ana- 
lysis of this excellent piece. " I confess," says our au- 
thor, " the power doth not so flow forth to man, as man 
expects it ; but — begins in him as weakness. There is 
all — the power of the enemy against the work of God 
in the heart. There is but a little thing (like a grain 
of mustard-seed), a weak thing, a foolish thing, even 
that which is not (to man's eye) to overcome all this ; 
and yet in this is the power." 

In this piece there is a sweet letter (to Isaac Pen- 
ington, most probably, at the time of his early convince- 
ment) from John Crook, well worth the perusal of such 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOIC. 



149 



as are truly awakened, but "afflicted and not comfort- 
ed." 

28. Some Questions and Answers for tiie opening of the 
eyes of the Jews Natural, that they may see the 
Hope of Israel, which hath so long been hid from 
them : with some questions and answers, for the di- 
rection, comfort, help, and furtherance of God's spi- 
ritual Israel, in their travels in spirit, from spiritual 
Egypt, through the spiritual wilderness, to spiritual 
Canaan, which is the land where the redeemed soul 
flourisheth in the life, walking with God, and wor- 
shipping Him in spirit and truth. 8vo. 1661. Eight 
sheets. 

This, also, though a work of deep concernment, and 
very far from relating wholly to the Jews, as indeed the 
title implies, is not capable of being represented by a 
summary. I have however thought the following ad- 
vice so suitable a caution to the readers of mysterious 
writings (such as spiritual tracts must ever be to the 
natural understanding; and the experiences of the 
adept, to the novice even in spiritual things themselves), 
and indeed even to the merely curious readers of the 
scriptures — I have, 1 say, esteemed it so apposite as to 
be worth transcribing. " He that readeth these things," 
saith our author, after a long description of the soul's 
spiritual travel, snares, and means of deliverance, " let 
him not strive to comprehend them ; but be content 
with what he feeleth thereof suitable to his own pre- 
sent estate : and as the life grows in him, and he in the 
life, and he comes to meet with the things and exercises 
spoken of, the words and experiences concerning them 
will of themselves open to him ; and be useful and ser- 
viceable to him so far as the Lord pleaseth ; he keeping 
to the leadings, savour, and principle of life in himself, 
wherein alone his knowledge, sight, growth and experi- 
ences are safe." 

29. Some (Questions and Answers, showing man his 

N 2 



150 REVIEW or THE WRITINGS 

duty, and pointing him to the principle of God in his 
heart ; which is the root of Hfe in aJl dispensations ; 
and which, being kept to, is able to bear the fruit of 
life in every dispensation. As also some questions 
and answers concerning the seed of Jacob, and the 
true church. 8vo. 1662. Three sheets. 
This is also another piece Httle capable of abridge- 
ment : because, like some of the foregoing, and many 
other of our author's writings, it is written in the way 
of dialogue, one question arising out of the preceding 
answer. ^ 

The piece before-mentioned, No. 27, " To all such as 
complain they want power," &c. is printed with it in 
the Works. 

30. Some observations on that portion of Scripture, 
Rom. xiv. 20. for the service of such in this present 
age, whose eyes and hearts the Lord shall please to 
open, to see and consider the weight of the truth 
thereof. With some few weighty words of advice to 
several sorts of people, according to their different 
states. 8vo. 1662. One sheet. 
" The passage of scripture is this, " For meat, des- 
troy not the work of God." The observations are four : 
namely, 

" 1. God hath a work in some men's hearts." 
" 2. That this work of God in man is liable to be des- 
troyed." 

"3. A little thing will destroy the work of God in 
the heart." 

" 4. No man should do that which tendeth to destroy 
the work of God in himself, or the work of God in ano- 
ther." 

Each observation is briefly enlarged upon. The first 
may seem to savour of unconditional and partial elec- 
tion. Nevertheless our author appears to have been 
an advocate for universal grace : but in a piece inferring 
and asserting the possibility of destroying the divine ope- 
ration, it was sufficient to assert it only as existing in 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 151 

some. In this view, it is a reply to the assertors of 
the impossibility of falling from the least degree of sav- 
ing grace. There are short addresses to several states ; 
viz. to such as never have been tender in conscience ; 
to such as having been so, are become hard ; to such as 
are still tender ; and, lastly, to the obdurate and per- 
secuting. Few works more teem with benevolence 
than this does. From it is given the extract at page 
66. 

31. Three Queries propounded to the King and Parlia- 
ment, in the fear of the Most High, and in the ten- 
ter love of my soul to them. 4to. One sheet. No 
date. 

The three questions are these, 

'• 1. Whether ye do certainly and infallibly know 
what was the ground or cause why the hand of the 
Lord was so heavy upon this nation, and why He over- 
turned the government thereof, and brought the honour- 
able into contempt ?" 

*' 2. Whether, when the Lord did overturn the former 
powers, with the glory and beauty of this nation, and 
raise up other powers out of the dust (as I may say), 
even from among them of low degree, if they had then 
answered what the Lord expected and required of them 
in their day, whether they should have been continued 
by Him in their dominion or no ; and whether ye should 
have had this day of trial, which it hath pleased the 
Lord now to afford you ?" 

" 3. If ye do not certainly know what was the cause 
of the Lord's former displeasure against you, and of his 
so sore afflicting you, but shall err in judgment, and set 
up the same things again, which the Lord then put forth 
his hand to throw down ; and also endeavour to crush 
and suppress that, which the Lord then made way for 
the growth of; whether this will not endanger your 
overthrow from the hand of the Lord ?" 



152. REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

This is a dissuasive against persecution. A large ex- 
tract from it is given at page 63. 

32. A Salutation of Love and tender Good- will to the 
Commissioners of the Peace for the county of Bucks, 
and such others in that county, and also throughout 
the nation, as are concerned in the contents hereof. 
Published in one broad sheet. No date. 

This is a serious warning to avoid the eternal dis- 
pleasure of the Almighty, by avoiding the temptations 
to sin. It may be considered as a short sermon, appears 
to be dictated in love, and is a piece of general applica- 
tion. 

33. A weighty Question propounded to the King, and 
both Houses of Parliament; together with some 
queries about religion, for the good of men's souls, 
that they may seek after, and be established in, that 
v/hich gives life. 4to. 1663. One sheet. — The first 
part being short, I transcribe the whole. 

"Question. Whether larvs made hy man, in equity 
ought to extend any further than there is power in man 
to obey .?" 

*' Is it not cruel to require obedience in such cases, 
wherein the party hath not a capacity in him of obey- 
ing?' 

"Now, in things concerning the worship of God, 
wherein a man is limited by God, both what worship 
he shall perform, and what worship he shall abstain 
from : here he is not left at liberty to obey what laws 
shall be made by man contrary hereunto." 

" The New Testament worship is to be in spirit and 
truth ; which is a principle above man's reason, and 
cannot rightly be limited by a lower principle ; but the 
lower principle in every man should be subjected to 
the higher, both in himself and others.'' 

" These things 1 write, not in pride or conceitedness : 



or ISAAC PENINGTOIf. 153 

but with an humble heart and in love ; that God may- 
have his due; Caesar, his; and all men, theirs; and 
that wrath from God may not break forth upon this 
nation ; for surely it cannot but greatly provoke Him, 
to see his people so deeply suffer for their obedience to 
Him in what He requireth of them." 

" I am a lover of peace, truth, and righteousness : 
and a hearty desirer of the welfare and prosperity of 
this nation : and that it may no more be broken up in 
the wrath and indignation of the Lord ; but that the 
peaceable and righteous seed, which he hath sown in 
the hearts of many, may be quietly suffered to grow 
up, to the praise of the Lord, and to the good of man- 
kind." 

" This is from one who was a mourner over you in your 
affliction : and is now also a mourner over those whom 
ye afflict— L P." 

This piece also contains a weighty discussion of the 
difference between the persuasions of reason, and the 
persuasions of faith ; giving of course the superiority to 
the latter. 

34. Some of the Mysteries of God's Kingdom glanced 
at, for the service of the upright-hearted among seve- 
ral sorts of professors; who have formerly had a 
feeling of most of these things in measure : to which 
feeling, and that which gave it them, they are here- 
by allured and invited to return ; that the many 
names and various ways may perish and vanish ; and 
the one Spirit, one Life, one neio living Name and 
Way, may be waited for and pursu^ after ; that so 
all the tribes and families, and several divisions of 
Israel may know one another ; and heartily unite in 
one nature and inward power of life, which doth 
good to all, and harm to none, neither inwardly nor 
outwardly. By a traveller towards the living sub- 
stance, and a mourner over the wanderings of the 
scattered sheep. 4to. 1663, Four sheets, 



154 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

This work is divided into sixteen sections, with the 
following titles. Concerning Christ — The Way of 
knowing Christ — Repentance — Faith — Hope — Love — 
Obedience — Peace, or rest — Joy — Liberty — Prayer — 
Regeneration — Justification — Sanctification — Reconci- 
liation — Redemption. 

As a specimen, I select the following extract, being 
the section on love. 

" What is Love ? What shall I say of it, or how shall 
I in words express its nature ! It is the sweetness of life. 
It is the sweet, tender, melting nature of God, flowing 
up through his seed of life into the creature ; and, of 
all things, making the creature most like unto himself, 
both in nature and operation. It fulfils the law. It 
fulfils the gospel. It wraps up all in one, and brings 
forth all in the oneness. It excludes all evil out of the 
heart; it perfects all good in the heart. A touch of 
love doth this in measure ; perfect love doth this in ful- 
ness. But how can I proceed to speak of it! Oh! 
that the souls of all that fear and wait on the Lord 
might feel its nature ftdly ; and then would they not 
fail of its sweet overcoming operations, both towards 
one another, and towards enemies. The great healing, 
the great conquest, the great salvation is reserved for 
the full manifestation of the love of God. His judg- 
ments, his cuttings, his hewings, by the word of his 
mouth, are but to prepare for, but not to do, the great 
work of raising up the sweet building of his life ; which 
is to be done in love, and in peace, and by the power 
thereof And this 'my soul waits and cries after, even 
the full springing, up of eternal love in my heart, and in 
the swallowing of me wholly into it, and the bringing 
of my soul wholly forth in it, that the Hfe of God, in its 
own perfect sweetness, may freely run forth through 
this vessel ; and not be at all tinctured by the vessel, 
but perfectly tincture and change the vessel into its 
own nature ; and then shall no fault be found in my 
soul before the Lord ; but the spotless life be fully en- 



OF ISAAC PENIiVGTON. 155 

joyed by me, and become a perfectly pleasant sacrifice 
to my God." 

" O how sweet is Love ! how pleasant is its nature ! 
how takingly doth it behave itself, in every condition, 
upon every occasion, to every person, and about every 
thing ! How tenderly, how readily, doth it help and 
serve the meanest ; How patiently, how meekly doth it 
bear all things, either from God or man ; how un- 
expectedly soever they come, or how hard soever they 
seem ! How doth it believe ! How doth it hope ! How 
doth it excuse, how doth it cover even that which 
seemeth not to be excusable, and not fit to be covered ! 
How kind is it even in its interpretations and charges 
concerning miscarriages ! It never overchargeth, it 
never grates upon the spirit of him whom it reprehends. 
It never hardens it never provokes; but carrieth a' 
meltingness and power of conviction with it. This is 
the nature of God. This, in the vessels capacitated to 
receive and bring it forth in its glory, the power of en- 
mity is not able to stand against, but falls before, and is 
overcome by." 

In this work, though not specified in the title, there 
are " Some Questions -and Answers of deep concern- 
ment to the Jews, from one who hath been a wrestler 
and traveller [travailer] with the Lord of life, for the 
day of their mercy and redemption." I shall only quote 
the following lines, and observe that the concluding ad- 
dress to the Jews is very earnest and pathetic. The 
selected quotation is an answer to the first question, 
the piece being catechetical. — " That there is mercy 
towards, and redemption for, that poor scattered, for- 
saken people, my heart hath from my childhood, and 
doth still steadfastly believe." 

35. Some deep considerations concerning the State of 
Israel, past, present, and to come. With some ques- 
tions and answers concerning unity. 4to. No date. 
Two sheets. 
This has relation to the state of spiritual religion in 



156 REVIEW OF THE WRITUfCS 

our author's memory ; but as the nature of the human 
mind is alike in all times, it is not to be considered as an 
obsolete piece. In looking it over, I fell upon a very 
tender and encouraging salutation to the afflicted tra- 
veller towards Sion. . 

The questions concerning spiritual unity are the fol- 
lowing : 

" What is it? 2. Wherein doth it consist? 3. How 
preserved ? 3. How interrupted ? 5. How recovered, 
if decaying?" 

The reader may probably incline to turn to the an- 
swers (which it would exceed my plan to insert,) when 
he has tasted the following paragraph, with which this 
piece concludes : 

" And let all strive to excel in tenderness and in long- 
suffering, and to be kept out of hard and evil thoughts 
one of another, and from harsh interpretations concern- 
ing any thing relating to one another. Oh ! this is un- 
worthy to be found in an Israelite towards an Egyptian : 
but exceeding shameful and inexcuseable to be found 
in one brother towards another. How many weak- 
nesses doth the Lord pass by in us ! How ready is He 
to interpret every thing well concerning his disciples, 
that may bear a good interpretation ! The spirit, saith 
He, is willing, but the flesh is weak. When they had 
been all scattered from Him, upon his death. He did 
not afterwards upbraid them, but sweetly gathered 
them again. O dear friends, have we received the same 
life of sweetness ? Let us bring forth the same sweet 
fruits, being ready to excuse, and to receive what may 
tend towards the excuse of another in any doubtful case ; 
and where there is any evil manifest, wait. Oh ! wait, 
to overcome it with good. Oh ! let us not spend the 
strength of our spirits in crying out of one another be- 
cause of evil ; but watch and wait where the mercy and 
the healing virtue will please to arise. O Lord, my 
God, when thou hast shown the ivants of Israel in any 
kind sufficiently {whether in the particular or in the ge- 
neral) f bring forth the supply thereof from thy fulness, 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 157 

SO ordering it in thy eternal imsdom, that all may he 
ashamed and abased before Thee, and thy name praised 
in and over alL^^ 

As this piece is said to be by " Isaac Penington the 
younger" (at least is so printed in the works,) I mention 
it before the next, though that precedes in Whiting's 
Catalogue ; but, with Whiting, I put both before what 
is here numbered 37, because this being written in 
Aylesbury prison, it seemed natural to connect it with 
a series of pieces also WTitten there. 

36. Concerning God's seeking out his Israel : likewise, 
concerning the principle of life whereby He seeketh 
them ; and the way of their closing with his Spirit 
therein. As also concerning the two covenants ; 
under one whereof He pleaseth to exercise and pre- 
pare them for the life and inheritance, which He 
hath treasured up for them in the other. With a post- 
script, relating some things necessary for lost man to 
be acquainted with, in his travels from his lost estate. 
4to. 1663. Three sheets. 

This wants in the title the appellation " younger," 
which seems to denote that about this time our author 
lost his father, the alderman, who, as has before been 
remarked, died in the Tower, a prisoner to the royal 
party then risen to power. 

This piece is addressed to Friends in and about God- 
manchester, in Huntingdonshire. A part of it arose on 
this wise : Some time before, the author had been at a 
meeting there, in w^hich whilst another Friend was 
speaking, some words sprung up in his mind. When 
the Friend ceased, the words did not again spring in 
him, and he dared not to utter them from bare remem- 
brance, but went away with a burden. After some 
time, one morning, not then thinking of the circum- 
stance, the very same words sprung up again livingly, 
with a pointing to write them down, with what else 
should be given to him, and to send them to the Friends 
of the neighbourhood of Godmanchester. 



158 ^ REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

I have found it more than, ordinarily difficult to fix 
upon any part of this work as a specimen. The words 
which occurred at Godmanchester were these : " The 
Shepherd of Israel is seeking out his sheep, even the lost 
sheep of the house of Israel." The title of this book, 
as well as this sentence, may be thought by some to 
have a predestinarian aspect ; but he defines " his 
sheep" to be the sons of men ; and " the lost sheep of 
the house of Israel," those among the sons of men who 
have felt' touches of the life, but have not fully followed 
it. A second part of the work has this title — " Con- 
cerning the Seed, or inward principle, whereby life is 
begotten and maintained in the heart." In this, the 
lowness and weakness of the first appearances of good, 
and the necessity of being content to receive it in its low 
appearance, are much insisted on. Then follow re- 
marks " Concerning the two Covenants." Here again 
the author shows himself no advocate for a partial call 
by grace ; saying, ^' This visitation of grace is to all 
mankind, there being none upon earth whom the Lord 
doth not thus seek, and visit with the light of his eter- 
nal life, thus administered through the grace." This 
section contains encouraging advice to the upright yet 
weary traveller ; and also the author's belief that there 
may yet be a greater manifestation of the love and life 
than yet is. There is also a Postscript, concerning " Some 
things necessary for lost man to be acquainted with : as, 
1 . To know his lost estate and misery for ever, unless the 
Lord pity and help him. 2. To know the light wherewith 
the Lord visits the souls that sit in darkness. 3. To 
breathe to the Lord, and wait to have his heart joined 
to the power of life daily. 4. To put forth all the 
strength of his soul and mind, and all the members of 
his body, in the service of the Lord. 5. To wait daily 
to receive the strength from the Lord, wherewith he 
serveth the Lord. 6. To feel the grace and mercy of ^ 
the Lord, in whatever he receiveth from the Lord, or 
whatever he doth for the Lord. 7. To wait for the 
wasting of the man, and the ^raising up of the seed day 



or ISAAC PENINGTON. 159 

by day." — I have abridged most of these, and shall 
much abridge the conclusion. 

" Here," saith he, " is safety indeed ! Here is ever- 
lasting righteousness so brought in, that it can never be 
removed out of the heart more. Here, everlasting life 
and the soul are one for ever. — This is the mark of Is- 
rael, and the haven of its eternal rest." 

37. Some Queries concerning the order and government 
of the Church of Christ. 4to. No date. Tv^^o sheets. 
Written in Aylesbury prison. 

The scope of this piece is to establish the necessity of 
order in the church ; in reply to such as contend that 
general regulations may occasion a man to turn away 
from the measure of life in his own vessel, to another 
man's measure. This, and other objections are answer- 
ed. " Did not," says Penington, " the apostles preach up 
the measureof life in their day, — the anointing within, its 
sufficiency to teach all things ? &c. And yet they did so 
preach it as to overthrow the ministry, or the gifts or ser- 
vice, either towards them that were without, or them that 
were within? Had they not power over them in the Lord? 
\Vere they not to build them up in the holy faith ; and 
also to watch against wolves and devouring spirits 1" 
The tract however seems to have a principal reference 
to the judgment respecting the ministry of others. The 
latter part of it relates to unity, and the author men- 
tions four means, which he had found helpful to pre- 
serve him in unity with the body. The first is, the pure 
fear of the Lord ^ the second, humility of heart; the 
third, sobriety of judgment.'^ "Not to setup mine own 
judgment," says he, " or that which I account the 
judgment of life in me, above the judgment of others, or 
that which is indeed life in others. For the Lord hath 
appeared to others, as well as to me : vea, there are 



* So the Apostle. Not to think more highly of himself than [he 
ought to think ; but to think toherly^ ^foviTt e<V ra vuipftie'ifv* 



160 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

others, who are, in — the purity and dominion of his life, 
far beyond me." The last mentioned means are, ten- 
derness, meekness, coolness, and stillness of spirit. 
" These," he declares, " are of an uniting, preserving 
nature. He that differs — from the body, cannot be 
thus ; and he that is thus, cannot rend or divide." 

38. An Epistle, written from Aylesbury prison to Friends 
in England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, New-England, 
Barbadoes, or any where else, where the Lord God 
shall order this to come, in the tender spirit of life 
and love, greeting. 4 to. 1666. One sheet and a 
half. 

There is much in this of the same stamp with the 
last ; which makes it the more probable that Whiting's 
arrangement is the right one. 

39. One more tender visitation to the men of this gene- 
ration, sent to them in bowels of love and tender com- 
passion, before their day be over. Published in a 
broad sheet. 1666. Dated from Aylesbury prison, 
16th, 5th month. ' . 

This is a tender, pathetic remonstrance, chiefly with 
those in authority ; breathing, according to my capaci- 
ty to judge, the genuine spirit and language of a per- 
secuted Christian to his oppressors. 

40. Concerning the Church, or, of the Church-state un- 
der the Gospel : whereby it may appear what a mise- 
rable apostacy from the truth hath overspread and 
covered the earth for many ages and generations, 
and how gross and thick the darkness yet lies upon 
it ; though the light of God in his tender mercy, hath 
broke forth andshined upon the people of his gather- 
ing, and through them hath also visited the world. 
The guidance of this in my heart was particularly 
and chiefly towards the papists; but 1 afterwards 



or ISAAC PENINGTOS^. 161 

had a true sense that it also extended to the state of 
such Protestants as had not waited on the Lord, for 
Him (in his wisdom and power) to rear up his own 
building; but had ventured to build of themselves, 
and so had reared up churches in the same spirit of 
error, darkness, and apostacy, which they seemed to 
depart from. Against all which the Lord will fight, 
and all which He will break down, in the day of the 
revelation of the glorious light and power of his truth, 
which will overcome, subdue, and reign over the 
earth ; not after the manner of men, but in the hea- 
venly dominion of his life. — Written in Aylesbury 
prison, about the middle of the sixth month, 1666. — 
Whereunto are annexed, some observations upon the 
eternal judgment, as it is expressed by Christ, Matt. 
XXV. 31, to the end of the chapter. — This last was 
written 29th of the 8th month. The whole two 
sheets and a half, 4to. 

The title is full and particular. I attempt not to 
analyze; but select the description of the means of 
knowing a true church. 

" There must be somewhat in man, to know them 
[modern accuracy would say iQ, and somewhat in them 
to be known by. That in man which knows them, 
must be somewhat of God in Him ; for that which is of 
man, cannot measure or judge of the things of God. 
As the worldly wisdom and spirit could not know Christ 
formerly; so neither now can it know his church." 

The well-known passage in Matt. xxv. is here 
brought as a v\^eighty argument against persecution. 

41. Concerning the sum or substance of our Religion, 
who are called Q,uakej*s ? and the exercises and 
travails of our spirits therein. No date. 4to. Two 
sheets. 

The author declares the sum of their religion to be 
o 2 



•162 REVIEW OP THE WRITIR-6S 

the feeling and discerning of the two seeds. This m 
opened in the first part. The next division is, " Con- 
cerning Christ, coming to the Father by Him, receiv- 
ing Him, walking in Him ; not in the oldness of the let- 
ter, but in the newness of the spirit. And concerning 
reading the scriptures aright." 

The third section relates to the gospel-ministration t 
and the fourth is, " Concerning Christ's being manifest- 
ed without, and his being also manifested within, and 
how both are owned by them that know the truth." 
Lastly are, " A few words concerning the principle of 
truth ; what it is ; how it may be discerned ; and how 
it may be purchased and possessed." 

42. Some things of great weight and concernment to 
all ; briefly opened and held forth from a true sense 
and understanding, for the healing of the ruins and 
breaches, which the enemy of mankind hath made 
on men's souls. As, 1. Some assertions concerning 
the principle and way of life. 2. Some further di- 
rections to Christ, the principle and fountain of life. 
3. The end of Christ's manifestation, his salvation, 
and whom He saves. 4. Three questions answered 
concerning Justification. 5. Of the pure, constant, 
eternal, unchangeable nature of God's truth. Writ- 
ten in the time of my confinement in Aylesbury, 
when love was working in me, and the life of God in 
me travailing and wrestling with the Lord for the 
salvation of others. 4to. 1667. Two sheets and a 
half 

The two first sentences of this work will, in great 
measure, manifest the scope of it. 

1. " That it is a great and hard matter to come into 
a capacity of knowing and receiving the truth. It is 
no ha'rd matter to take up any religion that a man 
finds in the world. To read scriptures, to believe what 
a man finds related there, according to his understand- 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOPT. 163 

ing of f hem ; yea, to believe that he hath the light and 
help of the Spirit in his reading and understanding ; to 
apply himself also to practice and observe what he finds 
therein required ; and to aim at holiness, &c. This is 
no hard matter : every man that is serious, and seeks 
religion of any kind, but in the v^^eight of a man's spi- 
rit, may go thus far. But all this administers not the 
true capacity : but he that meets with it, must go fur- 
ther than thus." 

2. " That which gives the true capacity is a princi- 
ple of life from God ; and there alone, and no where 
else, can a man meet with it, and receive it. This prin- 
ciple is the seed of the kingdom, or heavenly leaven, 
with which the mind must be in some measure leaven- 
ed, ere it can come into a true capacity of understand- 
ing and receiving the truth. And in this leaven must 
it abide and grow up, if it abide and grow in the true 
knowledge." 

The foregoing tracts (with the exceptions already no- 
ticed) compose the first volume of the Quarto edition of 
Isaac Penington's works, printed by the late Samuel 
Clark of London, for John and Thomas Kendall, Col- 
chester, and published 1761. 

43. A Question to the Professors of Christianity, whe- 
ther they have the true, living, powerful, saving 
knowledge of Christ, or no. With some queries con- 
cerning Christ and his appearances ; his taking upon 
Him our flesh ; as also concerning his flesh and 
blood, and our being formed thereof and feeding 
thereon. And an incitation to professors, seriously 
to consider whether they or we fail in the true ac- 
knowledgement and owning of the Christ which 
died at Jerusalem. Likewise, some propositions and 
considerations concerning the nature of church wor- 
ships and ordinances since the death of the apostles, 
for the sake of the simplicity, which hath been long 



164 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

held captive therein. With the sounding of Bowels 
towards thee, O England ! Also a faithful guidance 
to the principle and path of truth. With some sen- 
sible, experimental questions and answers, from the 
tenth chapter of John. By J. Penington, prisoner in 
Aylesbury, who (by the counsel of the Lord) hath 
chosen rather to suffer afflictions with the despised 
of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a sea- 
son. 4lo. 1667. Seven sheets. 

" The question," says he, "is not, whether they know 
what is said of Christ in the scriptures ; but whether 
they know it savingly, truly, livingly, powerfully. Yea, 
they may know what is said of Him, and yet not know 
Him of whom those things are said." 

He gives many instances of the Jews, who, having 
furnished themselves with many outward marks from 
the scriptures for the discovery of Christ, yet knew Him 
not when He came ; and declares that many now can 
condemn the Jews, who are acting over again inspirit the 
same thing. The queries concerning Christ are thirty- 
eight in number, tending to lead to a confession that 
the sacrifice of Christ has more than an outward inter- 
pretation : and pointing out the sense of many scriptur- 
al expressions respecting the mode of salvation by 
Christ. In the part entitled "An Incitation," &c., he 
thus repels the charge, that our Friends did not ac- 
knowledge Christ, as testified of in the scriptures. " We 
do really in our hearts own that Christ who came in 
the fulness of time, in that prepared body, to do the Fa- 
ther's will (his coming into the world, doctrine, mira- 
cles, sufferings, death, resurrection, &c.) ; in plainness 
and simplicity of heart, according as it is expressed in 
the letter of the scriptures. We own no other Christ 
than that, nor hold forth no other thing for Christ, but 
Him who then appeared, and was made manifest in 
fiesh." 

These four things he asserts; 



OP ISAAC PENINGTON. 165 

« 1. That nothing can save but the knowledge of 
that very Christ who offered up the prepared body at 
Jerusalem. 2. That no knowledge of Christ can save, 
but the living knowledge; which is only given to that 
which is begotten of the Spirit, and runs not out into 
the fleshly conceivings about the things mentioned in 
the scriptures. 3. That the man who knoweth not 
Christ in spirit, but calleth the shinings of his light, his 
checks for evil, his motions to good, natural ; this man 
though he seem to own Christ ever so much according 
to the lettef , yet in truth denies Him. 4. He that de- 
nies Christ (in his visitations in his own heart, and be- 
fore men in the truths which he holds forth by. his mi- 
nisters of his Spirit) him will He deny before his Father 
in heaven." I abridge. See the whole, vol. 2. 4 to. p. 
27. 

The Sounding of Bowels towards England is a weigh- 
ty piece, turning on these two questions. " What is 
the way of peace ?" " What is the way of trouble V^ 

Another part of this w^ork is some exposition of the 
similitude of the Shepherd, the door, the fold, and the 
sheep, in John x. It thus ends : " The Lord God, who 
is the spring and fountain of all good, inflame people 
with desires after the pure life and holy nature, which 
is of and from Christ, the Seed, his Son, and satisfy 
those desires which are singly and uprightly after him." 
There also is a general conclusion to the whole. This 
also is a product of imprisonment. 

44. To such as are not satisfied with a profession with- 
out the true life and power, but have sincere desires 
in their hearts after the Lord himself, and a willing- 
ness to be acquainted with his pure, living truth, and 
with the soul's true guide and leader. This experi- 
ence is in my heart to express unto you, which we 
have all along witnessed in our travels out of the 



166 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

dark, corrupt land, into the land of life and purity. 
4to. 1668. One sheet and a half. 

This piece does not appear to admit of a specimen. 

Next to it, in the Works, is printed the Account of 
his soul's travel towards the Holy Land, &c. which 
forms part of the following tract. 

45. Observations on some passages of Lodowick Mug- 
gleton, in his interpretation of the 11th chapter of 
the Revelations. As also on some passages of that 
bookpf his styled The. Mtck of the Quakers broken, and 
in his letter to Thomas Taylor ; whereby it may 
appear what spirit he is of, and what god his com- 
mission is from. Whereunto is added, a brief Ac- 
count of my soul's travel towards the holy land, with 
a few words concerning the way of knowing and re- 
ceiving the truth. Written in tender love to souls, 
in true sense and understanding received from the 
Lord, and with reverence to his holy Spirit and 
power. 4to. 1668. Three sheets and a half. 

It appears by this, that the early editors did not 
think fit to reprint the observations on Muggleton ; as 
they took only the latter part of this pamphlet. The 
substance of the " Account," &c. is given at page 28, 
forming a part of the narrative of the author's con- 
vincement. 

46. Some things relating to Religion, proposed to the 
Royal Society, so termed ; to wit, concerning the right 
ground of certainly therein ; concerning tenderness 
of spirit, and persecution ; a query concerning sepa- 
ration ; concerning washing av/ay sin from the con- 
science, and the garment of salvation, and what it is 
that is covered therewith. Likewise some questions 
and answers concerning the church of the new cove- 
nant, the rock or foundation whereon it is built, and 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 167 

its preservation by and upon the rock. With some 
queries concerning the scattered and hidden estate 
of the church ; and concerning that church which got 
up in the view of the world instead thereof; and was 
acknowledged by the world, as if she had been the 
true church ; though in deed and in truth she was not 
so. Whereunto are added, some queries to profes- 
sors, who speak of high attainments, &c. Written 
by one, whom it hath pleased the Lord (of his great 
goodness and tender mercy) to lead out of the darkness 
into his marvellous light ; known among men by the 
name of Isaac Penington. 4th. 1668. Three sheets. 

It may seem strange that a society incorporated for 
the purpose of investigating natural knowledge, should 
be selected for a religious address. The author's pre- 
fatory letter may open his intention in it, as the copious 
title may sufficiently, for this cursory view, show the 
contents of the work. 

" Friends, I have heard that ye are seeking after the 
excellency of nature and learning. I am not for dis- 
couraging any man, in endeavouring after that which 
is good, useful, and excellent in its kind and place ; but 
it is the advantage of every thing to know and abide in 
its place ; and to honour and serve Him from whom all 
good gifts and endowments come. Man hath but a mo- 
ment in this world, and he is here no more ; and then 
the spirit returneth to Gocl^ that gave it, to give an ac- 
count of the talent which He gave it, and its improve- 
ment thereof, to the glory of Him that gave it, and to 
the salvation of its own soul. JVovv, this talent is of a 
higher kind than nature, and will lead higher than na- 
ture; giving a man to partake of that wisdom from 
which nature came, and teaching him to order all that 
is natural to its right end. For God is not an enemy 
to nature ; but to the corruption and disorder of nature, 
s I desire ye might know and partake of the true wis- 
dom, and feel union with God in the principle of his own 

\ 



168 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

life ; and the incorruptible and heavenly seed of God re- 
ceive dominion over the earthly and corruptible. For 
this end singly, in the love springing up in my heart 
towards you (as it often doth, both towards particular 
persons and societies ; for 1 am a friend to all, and a 
lover of all; sincerely desiring the good of alJ, and the 
right guidance of their souls to happiness), have I pro- 
posed these things following more particularly to your 
view, though they concern others also, that ye thereby 
might be awakened to search after that which is most 
excellent in you, and be acquainted with the virtue and 
precious effects thereof, to the full satisfaction and com- 
plete joy of your souls, in that which alone is able fully 
to satisfy, and give them ground of durable joy and re- 
joicing ; in that which is not of a perishing nature, but 
which was, and is, and will be, the same for ever." 

" From a friend to the everlasting peace of 
your souls, and a desirer of your welfare 
and prosperity in this world, — Isaac Pen- 
ington." 

47. Of the Church in its first and pure state, in its de- 
clining state, in its declined state, and in its recovery. 
With the way of salvation in the covenant of life 
opened, and some stumbling blocks removed out of 
the way of the simple hearted. Likewise, some 
queries concerning the new covenant : with an exhor- 
tation to all people ; but more especially to such as 
are desolate and distressed. By one who testifieth 
what he hath seen, and heard, and tasted, and 
handled of the word and life eternal, Isaac Pening- 
ton. Whereunto is added, a visit of tender and up- 
right love to such as retain a sincerity towards the 
Lord. Also, a brief account of the ground of cer- 
tainty and satisfaction, which it hath pleased the 
Lord to establish in my heart, concerning religion and 
the things of his kingdom. And a question answered, 
about the way of knowing the motions, doctrines, ani 



OP ISAAC PENINGTON-. 169 

teachings of Christ's Spirit : with somewhat relating 
to the gospel-rest or sabbath ; and some queries to 
such as complain of want of power to become the 
Lord's, and serve Him. 4to. 1668. Nine sheets 
and a half. 

The Church in its pure state is portrayed by descrip- 
tions taken from 2 Pet. i. 1.; 1 Pet. i. 8., and ii. 5.; 1 
John, ii. 8, 12—14, 18, 20, 21. ; Heb. vi. 10. ; x. 32, 33. ; 
xii. 22—24, 28. ; also from Rev. i. 5, 6. It is described 
as formed of " squared stones, fit for the spiritual build- 
ing ; not old, rough, fierce, cruel, implacable, unregene- 
rate, unholy spirits; but meek, gentle, lowly, tender, 
poor in spirit, merciful, peaceable in themselves, and 
making peace among men, renewed and sanctified in 
spirit, holy in conversation, suffering for that power of 
truth and righteousness which they profess and bear 
witness to." 

Treating of a declining church, he says, " Can any 
thing preserve a soul, or church, but God's power? — A 
church is like a garden, needs digging, dressing, water- 
ing, and sun-shine. — Do not weeds easily spring up in a 
garden ? yea, ranker weeds than in common ground, 

if it be not — kept by the gardener. Read the 

figure and understand. If but one root of bitter- 
ness spring up in a church, it may defile many, and 
trouble the whole — so one corrupted church may — 
poison many more." 

An instance of a declined, fallen church, is given 
from 2 Thes. ii. 4 ; and the condition of its members is 
described from 2 Tim. iii. 2, &c. 

As to the state of the church in the recovery, I 
briefly notice the change of language, which, with 
great force, and beauty, and significance, he ascribes to 
it: 

" It shall be said no more, * Who can make war 
with the beast V after the Lamb hath overcome him ; 
but * Who is like to thee, O Lord, O King of saints, 

p 



170 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

who hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast 
reigned V " 

In the "Way of Salvation opened," among other 
things, the Calvinistic doctrine of Reprobation is com- 
bated, and there are some nice disquisitions on this 
subject. The following distinctions I incline to quote : 
" It is not the creature which is rejected by its Maker ; 
but somewhat in the creature, and the creature in that. 
Nor is it the creature (simply) which is elected ; but 
somewhat in the creature, and the creature in that. 
And as any man comes into that, the election is begun 
in him But as any man departs from that, he de- 
parts from the election into the reprobation." 

In the " Visit of tender and upright love," may be 
found a brief discussion of the subjects of Water-bap- 
tism, and the Supper, together with divers other weighty 
subjects, on some of which Friends have been, and are, 
often misunderstood, and misrepresented. On the whole, 
as this is not one of our author's lesser tracts, so it seems 
not one of the least valuable. The topics are of the 
first importance, and he appears to labour at treating 
of them with perspicuity. 

48. An Inquiry after Truth and Righteousness, and af- 
ter the people whom the Lord estabhsheth, and will 
establish therein : in some queries on Isaiah Iviii. and 
also on chap. liv. 4to. 1671. One sheet. Writ- 
ten in Reading gaol. 

It is generally allowed that these two chapters relate 
to the glorious state of the true church, and our author 
endeavours to show how far what is there spoken of it, 
is applicable to the professors of spiritual Christianity 
at that time under persecution. 

49. The holy Truth and People defended : and some of 



or ISAAC PENINGTON. 171 

the weapons and strength of the power of darkness 
broken and scattered, by the light and power of truth : 
in an answer to the chief passages in a letter, writ- 
ten to me, and replied to by me, before my impri- 
sonment in this place ; where 1 have been a prisoner 
above a year and a half, without any law broken, or 
cause given on my part, who only came innocently 
and peaceably to visit my friends in prison. By me, 
Isaac Penington, prisoner for the testimony of truth 
(for could I have denied truth, I might have avoided 
the snare), at Reading gaol. 1772. 4to. Five sheets 
and a half. 

This piece being an answer to the book of an oppo- 
nent, in which the author selects passage after passage, 
replying to each, cannot well be represented in minia- 
ture ; but as it consists of a review of divers objections 
that have been made to the doctrine of Friends, it may 
be recommended to such as desire minutely to examine 
their tenets. The following short passage relates to a 
common calumny of our adversaries. " As for our de- 
nying Redemption by the blood of Christ — none upon 
the earth (as the Lord God knoweth) are so taught, 
and do so rightly and fully own redemption by the blood 
of Christ, as the Lord hath taught us to do. For we 
own the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, both outward- 
ly and inwardly ; both as it was shed on the cross, and 
as it is sprinkled in our consciences; and know the 
cleansing virtue thereof in the everlasting covenant, and 
in the light which is eternal : out of which light men 
have but a notion thereof, but do not truly know nor 
own it." 

50. The ancient principle of Truth, or the light within 
asserted, and held forth according to true experience, 
and the faithful testimony of the Scriptures : in the 
answers to four questions. 1. What this light is 
which we testify of, and what is the nature of it ? 2. 
What it doth inwardly in the heart? 3. How it 



172 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

Cometh to be lighted, set up, and increased there ? 4. 
How it Cometh to be diminished or extinguished in 
any ? Also an appeal to the witness of God in all 
consciences, Which is the more sure word of prophe- 
cy ; the testimony of the Scriptures without, or the 
voice and testimony of the light and Spirit of God 
within in the heart. By one once greatly distressed, 
but now at length, in the tender mercy of the Lord, 
effectually visited and redeemed by the light and 
power of truth. 8vo. 1672. Six sheets. 

The fore-part of this tract is, as may be expected, 
an exposition of the principles of Friends. In the ap- 
peal, or comparison between the outward and inward 
guide, the preference is given to the latter. The pas- 
sage in 2 Peter, i. 19. has given rise to some controver- 
sy ; and standing as it does in our common translation, 
it is not surprising that it should ; but there is great 
reason to suppose that it is wrongly translated, and that 
no comparison between the voice in the mount and any 
thing else, was intended by the apostle. Much of the 
arguments, however, of Isaac Penington, and several 
others of our early Friends, in favour of the superiority 
of the Spirit to the letter, may still stand good, though 
that which gave rise to them is done away. In fact, 
the professors of those times used this text to prove the 
all-sufficiency of the Scriptures. Our Friends, who had 
learned the pre-excellence of the cause before the effect, 
opposed them on their own ground ; and while both par- 
ties allowed that something was supposed to be prefer- 
red to the voice on the mount, they had reason on their 
side in asserting that it could not be the Scripture. It 
is with diffidence and fear, I presume to conclude, that 
such eminent men were not fully aware of the true 
meaning of the passage; but if the words, rightly trans- 
lated, are literally these, " And we have more sure the 
prophetic word,"* the comparison " more sure" (which 

* Ktci 'i^of^tv l3efixiQTspoy roy ar/)<p<„}T/xoK Xoyov, Isaac Pening. 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 173 

probably means, more confirmed) will relate to the in- 
creased confirmation which the primitive Christians had 
of prophecy, by having seen its accomplishment. I 
think the subsequent verses are also clearer by this 
means, and accord better with the scope of the whole 
passage. 

There is a postscript to this work on the 18th verse 
of Rom. ix. " Therefore hath He mercy on whom He 
will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth." 
This text the author attempts to rescue from the service 
of the Predestinarians : and contends against the doc- 
trine which is generally drawn from this and other 
parts of that famous chapter: showing, 1. from the na- 
ture of God, 2. from his sending his Son, 3. from the 
universaHty of the covenant of light and life, and 4. 
from Scripture testimony, that the Almighty would have 
none to perish. 

51. Naked Truth, or Truth nakedly manifesting itself, 
in several particulars, for the removing of hin- 
drances out of the way of the simple hearted, that 
they may come to true knowledge, life, Hberty, peace, 
and joy in the Lord, through the virtue and power of 
his precious truth, revealed and working in them. 
Given forth by way of question and answer. Where- 
unto are added some experiences, with some scrip- 
tures, very sweet, and necessary to be experienced 
in the gospel-state. As also a few words concerning 
the true Christ. And a few words in the bowels of 
tender love and goodwill to my native country. By 
a long mourner and traveller after, but at length a 
happy experiencer of, the Truth, as it is in Jesus. 
8vo. 1674. Seven sheets and a half. 



ton has noticed that the Greek has ' prophetic word ;' but he does 
not seem to have observed that our translators have transposed the 
words of the sentence, nor to have noticed the definite article 
Toy, the, which our translators have rendered, a. 

p 2 



174 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

This is arranged under the following heads : 

1. Concerning understanding the holy Scriptures truly 
and aright. 2. The illuminating and sanctifying Spirit. 3, 
The Holy Spirit of God, and the Holy Scriptures. 4. The 
law of the Lord which is perfect, and converts the soul. 
5. David's longings, as expressed in Psal. xlii. xliii. cxix. 
and other places. 6. The sun or fountain of spiritual 
light. 7. The word's being a fire and a hammer, to 
burn up the chaff and break the rocks in pieces. 8. 
God's writing his law in the heart. 9. The inward 
Light of God's Spirit. 10. The Ministers and Ministry 
of the Gospel. 11. Trying of spirits and searching the 
heart. 12. Things necessary to Salvation. 13. The 
true Gospel-church or society. 14. The way to sal- 
vation. 15. Christ's saving the soul. 16. Regenera- 
tion. 17. True Holiness. 18. Christ's works outward- 
ly in the days of his flesh, and inwardly in the day and 
inward shining of the light of his Spirit in the heart. 
19. The yoke or Cross of Christ. 20. Making our 
Calling and Election sure. 21. Prayer. 22. Repent- 
ance. 23. Faith. 24. Obedience. 25. Justification. 
26. Good Works. 27. Love. 28. Meekness and Pa- 
tience. 29. The knowledge of the New Covenant. 30. 
Its Fear. 31. Hope. 32. Peace. 33. Joy. 34. Po- 
verty of Spirit and Humility. 

The Experiences are on the several subjects of I. 
The Seed of the Kingdom. 2. The Soul's Food. 3. 
God's power. 4. Temptations. 5. Prayer. 6. Justi- 
fication and Sanctification. 7. Faith. 8. Obedience. 
9. The Cross of Christ. 10. The Mystery of Life, and 
the Mystery of the Fellowship that is therein. 11. 
Judging according to appearance, and judging righteous 
judgment. The scripture passages, which our author 
truly terms sweet, and on each of which he comments, 
are the following : John xvii. 3. 1 Cor. xii. 3. John vi. 
45. 1 John V. 12. John vi. 55, 56. Psalm xxxvi. 9. Isa- 
iah Iv. 1—3. John iv. 14. 1 John i. 2, 3. Matth. xi. 28 



OF ISAAC PENIJfGTON. 175 

— 30. 1. John V. 20. 2 Cor. iv. 6. also iii. 14. John viii. 
31, 32. Rom. vi. 14. Isaiah iv. 5. also xii. 1 — 3. Rev. 
iii. 18. 1 John ii. 27. Psalm Ixxxv. 9, to the end. Rev. 
iii. 20. 

For a small specimen, an extract from the section on 
Joy may suffice. 

" Quest. Which is the true Joy ? Answ. The joy 
which flows from God's presence, and the work of his 
power in the heart, and the assured expectation which 
He gives of the full inheritance and glory of life ever- 
lasting. When the Bridegroom is present, when the 
soul is gathered home to Him, married to Him, in union 
with Him, in the holy, living fellowship ; when He ap- 
pears against the enemies of the soul, rising up against 
them, breaking, scattering them ; and giving of his good 
things, filling with life, tilling with love, filling with 
virtue, feasting the soul in the presence of the Father ; 
oh ! what sweet joy ! oh ! what fulness of joy is there 
then in the heart ! ' In thy presence is fulness of joy, and 
at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore." 

52. The Flesh and Blood of Christ, in the mystery and 
in the outward, briefly, plainly, and uprightly acknow- 
ledged, and testified to ; for the satisfaction and bene- 
fit of the tender hearted, who desire to experience 
the quickening, healing and cleansing virtue of it. 
With a brief account concerning the people called 
Quakers, in reference both to principle and doctrine. 
Whereunto are added some few other things, which, 
by the blessing of God, may be experimentally found 
useful to the true pilgrims and faithful travellers out 
of the nature and spirit of this world. Written in 
true love and tenderness of Spirit. 8vo. 1675. 
Four sheets. 

In the narrative at page 85, some account of this 
work is given. It may be added, that the 'Brief ac- 
count concerning the people called Quakers,' is couched 



176 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

in the assertion, and in the answer to the questions, 
which are here subjoined : 

Assert. " We are a people of God's gathering, 
who (many of us) had long waited for his appear- 
ance, and had undergone great distress for want there- 
of." 

Quest. 1. "But some may say, What appearance of 
the great God and Saviour, did ye want 1 

^ 2. " How did God appear to you ? 

3. " How did God gather you ?" 



There are " a few words," concerning the Way of 
Peace mentioned Rom. iii. 17. and also, in the postscript, 
concerning the doings and sufferings of the despised 
people called Quakers : and lastly, " An Exhortation 
to true Christianity," having this assertion prefixed : 

" It is easy to pretend to Christ ; but to be a true 
Christian is very precious, and many tribulations and 
deep afflictions are to be passed through before it be 
attained unto, as those who are made so by the Lord 
experience." 

53. To the Jews natural, and to the Jews spiritual ; 
with a few words to England, my native country, &c. 
Some sensible, weighty queries, concerning some 
things very sweet and necessary to be experienced in 
the truly Christian state. Whereunto is added a 
postscript, containing some queries on Isaiah 1. 10, 
11. a scripture of deep counsel and concern to the 
darkened and distressed states of some among those 
that fear and obey the Lord. Whereunto are added, 
two or three queries touching the River and City of 
God, and the pure stillness, wherein God is known 
and exalted. As also some questions answered con- 
cerning the true church, ministry, and, maintenance, 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOy. 177 

under the Gospel; and about the Lamb's war. 

Written in travailing bowels. 8vo. 1677. Four 

sheets and a half, and one and a half; or six 
sheets. 

" It is the joy of my heart," says our author in his 
preface, " to receive good from God, to be filled with 
his blessings, to have my cup overflow ; and that others 
may be helped, refreshed, and gladded therewith ; and, 
by the sweet taste thereof, led to wait for the opening 
of the same root and fountain of life in themselves, to 
yield living sap, and send forth living streams in them 
day by day." This sentence seems to set forth the 
spring and tendency of gospel-communications ; the 
temper of the pastor, and the purpose of being fed. 
The reader may ask the question, Why should not the 
purpose be fulfilled in me ? 

It is not easy to abridge the address to the Jews na- 
tural. The author seems not to expect the restoration 
of their outward estate. Some may therefore ask, To 
what end have they been miraculously preserved a 
distinct people in their dispersion, through almost eigh- 
teen centuries? It is easier to ask than to answer, to 
doubt than to solve ; but whichever may be the termi- 
nation of their long outward captivity ; either a glorious 
restoration to Palestine, and conversion to Christianity : 
or simply an inward redemption into its faith ; they 
serve in the mean time as a grand monument of the 
truth of the things recorded of them in ancient time; 
and as a clear, though indirect testimony to the truth 
even of the religion which they refuse to embrace. Our 
author thus expresses his love to them. " You Jews," 
says he, " of the outward line of Abraham, whose re- 
turn to the Lord my soul most earnestly desireth after, 
and for which I have most vehemently, and wrestling- 
ly prayed to the Lord." The bent of the book is to 
show them that all the occurrences which befell their 
forefathers were typical. The Scripture references 



178 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

are of course to the Old Testament. Eight queries, in 
our author's Socratic way, are propounded for their 
consideration. One of them is thus : " Query 3. Did 
not the Messiah come at the set time, at the time set by 
the holy Spirit of prophecy ? Did He not come in the 
prepared body to do the will, and did He not do the 
will 1 And after his obedience to his Father, was He 
not cut off, though not for Himself? And after his cut- 
tinjDj off, were not ye made desolate ? Why were ye 
made desolate ? Why did such a stroke come upon you, 
as never before ? Oh ! consider it. Read Dan. ix. 24, 
to the end of the chapter, and let him that readeth, 
understand." 

The address to the Jews spiritual, sets out upon the 
passage in Gen. xlix. 10. "The sceptre shall not de- 
part from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, 
until Shiloh come ; and unto Him shall the gathering of 
the people be." This piece treats of the gathering of 
the Gentiles, and concludes with a warm, pathetic ex- 
hortation to the spiritually-minded. I cast my eye on 
the following : " Oh ! who would lose the precious fear 
of the covenant, which is clean, and endureth for ever, 
and keepeth clean and chaste to the Lord forever! 
And who would miss of one law which God hath to 
write in the hearts of his children, when every law is a 
law of life." 

There are in this piece three queries upon Psalm 
xlvi. 4, 5. 10 ; not specified in the title. In Penington's 
works a new title and preface is given with the *' Sen- 
sible, weighty Q,ueries," and those on Isaiah 1. Most 
of these queries are short. The reader, by turning to 
the place, ma)* see the weightiness of the passage in 
Isaiah: and will find our author's queries on it weighty 
also, and of great concernment to every religious pro- 



54. The Everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, 



or ISAAC PENINGTOJT. 179 

and the blessed effects thereof, testified to from ex- 
perience. 4to. 1678. One sheet and a half. 

This is the short piece dated from Astrop, from which 
an extract is given at page 84. 

55. A further testimony to Truth, revived out of the 
ruins of the Apostacy ; or several things opened from 
the Spirit of Truth, touching the way of Life and 
Salvation; which will reach to the w*^itness in the 
hearts of those whose spirits are quickened, and 
whose ears and understanding are opened by the Spi- 
rit and power of the Lord. Written in a deep sense, 
and tender love. 4to. 1680. i. e. posthumous. 

The reader will find this piece divided into the fol- 
lowing sections, though not denominated such : 

"Some queries concerning Christ's righteousness, 
how it justifieth ; whether as inwardly revealed and 
dwelling in the heart, or only ag imputed, or both." 

" G)ncerning the true Church and Ministry." 

" An objection, concerning the newness of the way 
of Truth, answered ; with a tender expostulating ex- 
hortation." 

" A caution to those who are at any time touched 
with the power of Truth, how they afterwards hearken 
to and let in the enemy, and so thereby have the good 
seed stolen away, the true sense lost, and the mind 
filled with prejudices and stumbling-blocks instead 
thereof." 

" An objection against the principle, which, in faith- 
fulness to God, and in love to souls, we bear witness to, 
briefly answered." 

" Some questions and answers concerning the new 



180 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

covenant ; opening the nature and way of it, as it is ex- 
perimentally felt in the heart, and witnessed to in the 
holy Scriptures." 

" A question or two, relating to Election, answered." 

" A question answered concerning the ground of men's 
misunderstanding and wresting of Scriptures." 

" Some questions, answers, and queries, concerning 
deceit and deceivers ; as what they are, what disco- 
vers them, how man may come out of them, and he pre- 
served from them," &c. 

" That the way of life and salvation is freely held 
forth by God to all ; and there is nothing in Him to let, 
stop, or discourage any man from receiving his truth, 
and giving up to Him in the faith and obedience of it ; , 
but very much to invite and encourage." 

" Some questions answered concerning the Spirit of 
of Christ, and the spirit of the Scribes and Pharisees.", 

" Some questions answered concerning blasphemy 
and blasphemers." 

" A question concerning miracles answered." This 
relates to the objection that our Friends wrought no mi- 
racles in support of their mission. 

" Some further questions ^answered concerning the 
new covenant." 

" A brief account concerning Silent Meetings ; the 
nature, use, intent, and benefit of them." 

This last is an informing section, on the subject re- 
ferred to;— but hear our author, in his preface, respect- 
ing the information on religious subjects received mere- 
ly by reading. " Dwell not in the notion, delight not 



OF ISAAC PENINCTOy. 181 

in the outward knov/ledge of the thing itself (though 
the knowledge be ever so sweet, pleasing, satisfactory, 
and demonstrative to the mind) ; but come to the ever- 
lasting spring. Feel the measure of life in thy particu- 
lar, and that will lead thee to the spring of life, from 
whence the measure comes as a gift from the Father to 
thee, to bring thee to the Father. And singly for this 
end have been drawn to write what follows, in service 
to the Lord, in faithfulness to Him, in dear love to the 
souls of men." 

The next is also a posthumous publication, which 
first appeared in the Folio edition of Isaac Penington's 
works, though written so long before as 1671. It is one 
of his longest works, viz. 

56, Life and Immortality brought to light through the 
Gospel. Being a true discovery of the nature and 
ground of the religion and kingdom of Christ : in se- 
veral weighty queries propounded, and other serious 
matters treated of, highly importing the eternal sal- 
vation of souls. Written by Isaac Peninglon, in the 
time of his imprisonment in Reading gaol. The date 
of this is 1671. As it was never separately publish- 
ed, the form and size cannot be given. 

This work is in thirty sections. The first eight are 
queries — " 1. On the state of the Church as it was in 
the Apostle's days, and was to be afterwards. 2. On 
Deut. xxix. and xxx. compared with Rom. x. 3. On 
Destruction and Salvation. 4. On Col. i. 27 — 29, 
(translating h To7g ihia-iv, in the Gentiles). 5. On the 
Way of Life, and mystery of the Gospel. 6. On right- 
eousness or Justification. 7. Being under the Law, and 
under Grace. 8. For the professors of Christianity to 
consider of, and try their states by." These are inter- 
esting. The first begins thus : •' Is thy spirit, heart, 
mind, soul, and body a temple for God to dwell in ? 



182 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

Who dwells in thy heart 1 Doth the Holy Spirit, or 
the unclean spirit ?" 

The 9th section is about *' preaching the Gospel after 
the apostasy. 10. Concerning others not learning what 
God teacheth us [Friends] and concerning the way of 
his teaching us. 11. Of the three-fold appearance of 
Christ ; under the law, in a body of flesh, and in his 
Spirit and power. 12. and 13. On Mounts Sinai and 
Sion. 14. The temple and sacrifices under the Gospel. 

15. Questions concerning the light of Christ's Spirit an- 
swered, according to the Scriptures, and experience. 

16. The way to know one's election, and to be fully as- 
sured of it; as also concerning election itself. 17. Con- 
cerning the priesthood of Christ, from Hebrews. 18. A 
brief relation of the estate or condition the Lord found 
rhany of us in, when He came to visit us, and make 
known to us the blessed ministration of his Spirit and 
power ; and, of some of his dealings with us, in instruct- 
ing and nurturing us up therein ; with a few words of 
exhortation. 19. Concerning the Gospel-state. 20. 
Baptism, from Mark xvi. 16. 21. Some questions con- 
cerning the Gentiles' doing by nature the things con- 
tained in the law. 22. The rule of the children of the 
new covenant. 23. Queries concerning the law, or 
word, statutes, testimonies, judgments, &c. which David 
was so delighted in. 24. Observations on 2 Pet. iii. 14 
— 16. 25. On the Gospel-ministry, or right teaching 
and learning the mystery of life and salvation. 26. On 
the old and new Covenant. 27. Queries on Rom. vi. 
vii. and viii. 28. A further testimony concerning the 
work of God upon our hearts, who are called Quakers. 
29. A brief account of the ground of our worship, and 
how it Cometh to pass that we cannot conform to the 
spirit of this world, or to the wills of men therein, but 
only to the Spirit and will of our God. 30. Some que- 
ries concerning knowing and owning the Lord Jesus 
Christ truly and aright, who hath been the only Sa- 



OP ISAAC PENINGTOX. 183 

viour and Redeemer in all ages and generations ; and 
there never was, and never shall be any other." 

Such are the subjects which are investigated in this 
book. In the eleventh section (to give a few touches 
of some of them), under the division treating of Christ's 
appearance under the law, there is probably as full a 
testimony to the oneness of the Son and Father, as can 
any where be met with. This is however a subject 
to be spoken and thought of with reverence. The 
same subject is spoken of with equal confidence, though 
on a different occasion, in the eighteenth. Thus, " very 
deep and weighty was that answer of Christ to Philip. 
When Philip said, * Show us the Father, and it sufficeth. 
Hast thounot seen * me Philip,'' said Christ. ''How is it 
that thou sayest, Shoio us the Father ? He that hath 
seen me, hath seen the Father also /' Are they not one 
nature, one wisdom — one pure eternal Being ? Can 
the one possibly be seen, and not the other ? Though 
they may be distinguished in manifestation, in the 
hearts where they are received; is it possible they 
should be divided and separated the one from the other ? 
Those that thus apprehend, plainly manifest, that they 
never received the true knowledge of the Father and 
Son : but have only notions and apprehensions of man's 
wisdom concerning them." 

To the objection that the Friends do not use the 
Lord's Prayer, is this reply : " Truly, Christ, our Lord 
and Master, who taught his disciples to pray formerly, 
hath taught us also to pray that very prayer; though 
not to say the words outwardly in the will of men, or 
in our own will. He hath taught our hearts to breathe 
after the same things, even that the name of our hea- 
venly Father might be hallowed or sanctified more and 



♦ I apprehend this is a typographical error, for known. The 
edition has not a few, if they abound in jiroportion with the parts I 
have examined. 



184 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

more, — that He might reign more in men's spirits, and 
the kingdom of sin and Satan be thrown down ; and 
that his loill might be done even in our earth, as it is 
clone in lieavenly places, where all the hosts of G<5d 
obey Him ; and that we might have every day a por- 
tion of the heavenly bread, whereby our souls may live 
to Him, and convenient food and provision outward al- 
so, according as He seeth good, who careth for us. 

" Now as we are kept in the light, and watch to the 
light which discovers things, we see what we are kept 
out of, and what we are at any time entangled in, and 
so trespass against the Lord ; and then we are taught 
to beg pardon, and wait where pardon is to be received, 
through our Advocate, even as God hath taught us to 
forgive. Yet this doth not embolden any of the little 
ones to sin ; but they pray that they may not he led (or 
fall) into temptation ; but may witness deliverance from 
the ex'//, which the enemy watcheth to betray and in- 
snare them with. And these cries are put up to Him 
who is ready to hear ; and who c«n answer and fulfil 
the desires of them that love and fear Him ; and indeed 
not only so, but they are also put up in faith that, in 
the way of God, the soul shall obtain and receive what 
it prayeth and waiteth for." 

From the section on " the Gospel-state," a part of 
the summing-up or conclusion, after a glorious descrip- 
tion* of that state, may serve as a specimen. 

" Now if any one doubt concerning the truth of these 
things, this word is in my heart to such. Come and see. 
Oh ! come and see the glory of the Lord, and the power 
of his life, and righteousness of his kingdom, which is 
now revealed, after the long night of darkness ! Oh ! 
blessed, blessed, be his name, who hath caused his 



* Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God, Psalm 
Ixxxvii. 3. 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 185 

light to shine, and opened the . eye which was once 
blind to see it !'* 

" ^uest. But how may I come to see the glory of the 
Gospel-state ?" 

" Answ. Come to the seed, and wait to feel and re- 
ceive the power which raiseth the seed in the heart ; 
and bringeth the heart, soul, mind, and spirit, into 
union with the seed." 

" Quest. But how may I come to the seed ; and how 
may I wait aright, to feel and receive the power which 
raiseth it?" 

" Answ. Mind that in thee which searcheth the heart, 
and what it reacheth to, and quickeneth in thee ; what 
it draweth thee from, what it draweth thee to ; how it 
showeth thee thine own inability to follow, and how it 
giveth ability when thou art weary of toiling and la- 
bouring of thyself." 

" The Lord make thee sensible of the 

visits, drawings, and leadings of his Holy Spirit; and 
guide thy feet thereby into the way of truth and peace. 

Amen:' 

The section on Baptism will be easily conceived to 
recommend spiritual, and not water-baptism. On this 
subject much has been written by Friends; but those 
who wish to investigate the subject deeply, as it may 
be supported by Scripture authority, would do well to 
peruse this dissertation on it. 

After the series of the thirty sections, there is a que- 
ry," Concerning Imputation," a famous subject, the oc- 
casion of much debate in the Christian world, and con- 
cerning which no view of our author's belief has yet 
been given in these pages. With this query therefore 
Q 2 



186 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

may be concluded this short review of the important 
and instructive work, " J^ife and ImmortaHty brought to 
light by the Gospel." 

" In what state was Abraham when faith was imput- 
ed to him for righteousness 1 Was he in the ungodly 
state ; in the state of unbelief and disobedience to the 
Spirit and power of the Lord : or was he in the sense of 
God's power, in the behef of Him who could raise up 
his son from the dead ; and, in the performance of obe- 
dience unto Him, giving up his son at the Lord's com- 
mand?' 

" And in what state must we be, when we witness 
faith imputed to us also for righteousness ? Must we not 
be in the sense of the same power, and in the belief of 
it, and in the obedience of faith V Read Rom. iv. and 
consider : for the righteousness of the Gospel is not im- 
puted in, or by, the works of the law, but in the obedi- 
ence of faith." 

" It is true, God justifieth the ungodly ; through faith 
He makes them just and godly ; but doth He justify or 
accept them in the ungodly state ? Doth He not first 
make a change in them by his power 1 Doth He not 
first, in some measure, purify their hearts by faith ?" 

The next posthumous work, published in the general 
collection, is also of considerable magnitude. It is with- 
out a title, but appears to have been intended as an 
answer to some questions, and a reply to some animad- 
versions of a certain person whose name is now lost. 
We may call it 

57. A Reply to queries and animadversions, written in 
the year 1667. 

It appears that our author's antagonist, or probably 
a friendly objector, had been pleading for the value and 



OF ISAAC PENIiVGTOX. 187 

sufficiency of that knowledge of religion which is mere- 
ly derived from an acquaintance with the scriptures ; 
because the superiority, and indispensable need, of the 
Spirit, pervade the whole of this Reply. Like many 
of our author's books, it is arranged under various heads. 
They are these : " The rule of the new covenant, or that 
which God hath appointed to be the rule to the chil- 
dren of the new covenant. — Christ. — The form of sound 
words. — Inward impressions. — The Light. — Justifica- 
tion.-^God's love to mankind. — Baptism. — Perfection." 

The animadversions appear by the replies to have 
been ten, and it seems probable that their author was a 
member of some church or congregation, whose tenets 
he was endeavouring to defend. 

This is a choice performance, and it is rather diffi- 
cult to select extracts few enough to suit the conciseness 
of this review. The following, on two points (if the 
latter may be reverently called so), on which many 
people think themselves able to speak, may be accept- 
able to the reader Avho is either already imbued \vith 
the principles of Friends, or is desirous of knowing them 
with precision. 

" Yet (though we do own Christ to be the rule) we 
do not deny making use of the scriptures to try doc- 
trines and forms of religion by ; but know that what is 
of God doth and will agree therewith; and what doth 
not agree therewith is not of God ; and that our fore- 
fathers in the faith were led to batter the superstitions, 
and idolatries of the Papists, by the testimony of the 
scriptures. And we have also the testimony of the 
scriptures with us, both to the light and Spirit within ; 
and against forms formerly invented, or now practis- 
ed, out of the life and power. But we believe the 
Spirit to be a touchstone beyond the scriptures, and 
to be that which giveth ability to try and discern not 
only words, but spirits. And for calling the scrip- 



188 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

tures the Word of God, we cannot but look upon it as 
an improper expression ; they being many words, not 
the one Word ; and Christ is called in the scripture, not 
only the Word God,* but the Word of God. And if, in 
the fear of the Lord, and true sense, we keep herein to 
the expressions of scripture, and its form of words which 
are sound, surely we cannot justly be blamed for so do- 
ing." 

This is an extract from the first section. The second^ 
entire, runs thus : 

" Christ is that word of eternal life, which was glori- 
fied with the Father before the world was ; who, in the 
full appointed time, took up the body of flesh prepared 
by the Father, to do the will in ; and did the will in it, 
fulfilling all righteousness, to the satisfaction of the very 
heart of the Father ; for whose name's sake the sins of 
believers are pardoned. And this same Word of eter- 
nal life, and no other, which took that body of flesh 
upon Him, is also manifested, and dwelleth in the hearts 
of his saints ; who, [he might more clearly have said, 
and], as they receive Him in the faith which is of Him, 
dwells in them richly, manifesting in the vessel the 
treasures of his divine wisdom and knowledge. Now, 
this is the precious knowledge of Christ indeed ; and 
this is it every one is to wait for ; to find a measure of 
the same life, the fulness whereof dwells in Him bodily, 
dwelling in our mortal bodies, and making us Hke unto 
Him, in spirit, nature, and conversation. And he that 
knoweth not, but opposeth this, in any of its appear- 
ances or operations, either in himself or others, is so far 
of the dark anti-christian spirit." 

In the section on the love of God to mankind, 



* This precise expression is not found in our Bible. It shows 
however, the author's anti-Socinian turn ; and probably refers to 
John i. 1 



OF ISAAC PENINGTON. 189 

absolute reprobation is impugned ; but 1 conclude 
these extracts with a few touches of the section on Per- 
fection. 

" Christ is a perfect physician, and is able to work 
a perfect cure on the heart that believeth in Him, and 
waiteth upon Him. — Christ likewise bids his disciples 
be perfect, as their heavenly Father is perfect ; and 
the apostle bids men perfect holiness in the fear of 
God, that they might be fully separated from, and not 
so much as touch, the unclean thing." 

" Did Christ cure perfectly outwardly, in the days of 
his flesh ; and shall He not cure perfectly inwardly in 
the days of his Spirit 1 Yes, certainly. The lame, the 
deaf, the blind, the dumb, the lepers, waiting upon 
Him in the way of his covenant, shall be cured by 
Him as perfectly inwardly, as ever the others were out- 
wardly." 

The next piece in the collection, as indeed all the re- 
mainder which I shall have occasion to mention, is also 
posthumous, viz, 

58. A few Experiences concerning some of the w^eighty 
things relating to God's everlasting kingdom. Given 
forth in the true and tender love, for the help of any 
such of the race of the true travellers, as may stand 
in need thereof. 

This was written in Reading Goal, in 1671. It con- 
sists of the following particulars: " 1. A faithful testi- 
mony concerning the true and pure way of life ; with 
breathings for such as have desires after it, and yet are 
strangers to it. 2. Concerning the perfecting of God's 
w^ork in the heart. 3. Concerning the true Christ ; 
how it may be certainly and infallibly known which is 
He. 4. Some queries to such as affirm the scriptures 
to be the only rule, and deny the Spirit, the Seed of 
the kingdom, the new covenant, the holy leaven of life, 



190 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

the law written in the heart, to be the rule of the chil- 
dren of the new covenant. 5. Concerning the Light, 
wherewith Christ, the Life, enlightens every man. 6. 
A few words further concerning Perfection. 7. Con- 
cerning imputation of righteousness. 8. Some queries 
concerning the time and work of Reformation. 9. 
Some queries concerning the Spirit of Christ, or the 
Spirit of the Father (it being one and the same Spirit), 
for those who take themselves to be Christians (and un- 
der the gospel-dispensation) to consider and examine 
themselves by, that they may not be deceived, either 
concerning their present estate here, or the eternal es- 
tate of their souls hereafter : seeing the apostle so ex- 
pressly saith, " [f any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, 
he is none of his." Rom. viii. 1 0. Of the true way, 
the way of holiness, the way of life, and of the true 
teaching and knowledge. 11. Concerning separation 
from the spirit and ways of the world." 

The last extract given from the preceding work, was 
intended to show our author's, and the Society's views, 
on the subject of Perfection. A few queries, selected 
from §. 2. of this work, may be a suitable supplement. 

" Is it not the will of God that his people and chil- 
dren should be sanctified in soul, in body, in spirit ? Did 
not [Christ] bid them pray, ' Thy kingdom come, thy 
will be done in earth, as it is in heaven ? And would 
He never have them believe and expect that it should 
be done in earth, as it is in heaven ?" 

" Doth not he who hath the true, pure, livujg hope 
(which anchors within the veil), purify himself, even 
as He is pure ?" 

The 9th section is very weighty. The third of its 
queries may serve as a specimen. 

" Doth the Spirit of Christ dwell in thee? Hath the 



OP ISAAC PENINGTON'. 191 

stronger man cast the strong man out of thee, and taken 
possession of thy heart, and doth He dwell therein ? 
Then thou mayest truly say, that thou art built up by 
God an habitation for Him in the Spirit. Then thou 
art washed and cleansed by Him from thy filthiness ; and 
lusts or vain thoughts do not lodge in thee. For the holy 
Spirit of Christ will not dwell where such things lodge ; 
but ' Come out from among them, and be ye separate, 
and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, 
and be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and 
daughters, saith the Lord Almighty, in whom I will 
dwell and walk.' " 

The next piece is also a production of the same im- 
prisonment. 

69. A treatise concerning Christ^s teachiugs, and Christ's 
law, with some other things of weighty importance, 
particularly mentioned after the preface, written by 
I. P. prisoner at Reading goal for the testimony of 
truth. 

This, like most of our author's tracts, is divided into 
numbered sections. " 1. Concerning God's teachings. 
2. Concerning the law of Christ. 3. A brief relation 
concerning myself, in reference to what has befallen me 
in my pursuit after Truth. 4. A question about preach- 
ing the everlasting gospel answered. 5. Concerning 
Christ's ministry or priesthood. 6. Concerning the true 
knowledge of Christ. 7. A few words more concerning 
the right way of knowing, as it is witnessed unto in the 
scriptures, and experienced in the hearts of those that 
truly and livingly know the Lord. 8. Concerning 
Christ's righteousness, which is the righteousness of all 
his saints. 9. Of the Grace of the Gospel. 10. A 
question answered concerning real holiness. 1 1. Con- 
cerning the law of sin in the fleshly mind, and the law 
of life and holiness in the renewed mind, and whence each 
have their strength. 12. Concerning God's gathering 



192 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

US home to Himself, who are a people despised and re- 
jected of men, and in scorn by them called Quakers. 
13. A few words concerning the worship which our 
God hath taught us." 

The third section of this work is already given, near- 
ly the whole of it, at page 10. If we take sections 5 and 
13, they will form an extract which will comprehend a 
large portion of what, speaking in (he usual manner, 
would be called Quaker- divinity. 

Sect, 5. " Christ is made by God a minister or high 
priest over the spiritual Israel of God. Not after the 
law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of 
an endless life (as Heb. vii. 16, and chap. viii. 2), and 
He ministers with his Spirit and power unto, and in all 
his. So that' he that knows Christ's ministry, knows 
the power, the life, the Spirit in which He ministers ; 
but he that is not acquainted with these, is yet to learn 
to know Christ aright, and to believe in Him unto life 
and salvation ; which are wrapped up, comprehended, 
revealed, and communicated in the power wherewith 
He ministers. For the very beginning of Christ's mi- 
nistry is in the Spirit and power of God, whereby He re- 
deems out of the spirit and power of satan ; and to this, 
men are to be turned, if they will witness salvation by 
Jesus Christ ; even to the light and power of God's holy 
Spirit, which breaks the darkness and strength of the 
kingdom of satan in the heart. For indeed, all literal 
professions; beliefs, knowledges, and practices, out of the 
life and power, satan can transform himself into, and up- 
hold and maintain his kingdom under, in the hearts of 
men ; but the inward light and power of life breaks it, 
where the minds of people are by the Spirit of the Lord 
turned thereto, and subjected under its rule and go- 
vernment." 

Sect. 13. " Our worship is a deep exercise of our 
spirits before the Lord, which doth not consist in an ex- 



OP ISAAC PENINGTOPT. 193 

ercising the natural part or natural mind, either to hear 
or speak words, or in praying according to what'we of our- 
selves can apprehend or comprehend concerning our 
needs ; but we wait, in silence of the fleshly part, to hear 
with the new ear what God shall please to speak inward- 
ly in our own hearts, or outwardly through others, who 
speak with the new tongue, which He unlooseth and 
teacheth to speak ; and we pray in the Spirit, and 
with the new understanding, as God pleaseth to quicken, 
draw forth, and open our hearts towards himself." 

" Thus our minds being gathered into the measure, or 
gift of grace, which is by Jesus Christ ; here we appear 
before God ; and here our God and his Christ is witness- 
ed in the midst of us. This is that gathering in the 
name, which the promise is to ; where we meet toge- 
ther, waiting with one consent on the Father of life, 
bowing and confessing to Him in the name of his Son ; 
and that fleshly part, that fleshly understanding, that 
fleshly wisdom, that fleshly will, which will not bow, is 
chained down and kept under by the power of life, 
which God stretcheth forth over it, and subdueth it by. 
So then there is the sweet communion enjoyed, the 
sweet love flowing, the sweet peace reaped ; — the sweet 
joy and refreshment in the Lord our righteousness, who 
causeth righteousness to drop down from heaven, and 
truth to spring up out of the earth. And so our Father 
is felt blessing us, blessing our land, blessing our habita- 
tions, delighting in us and over us to do us good ; and 
our land yields its increase to the Lord of life, who hath 
redeemed it, and planted the precious plants and seeds 
of life in it." 

60. A question answered, concerning reading the 
Scriptures aright. No date. 

This is a short piece. The question is, " How may 
a man know whether he readeth the scriptures to his 
advantage and benefit ; or whether he readeth them to 
his disadvantage or hurt ?" 



194 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 



le following short quotation further opens the na- 
and the cause of this question : 



The 
ture 

" He that reads the Scriptures in a true measure of 
life received from God, he reads them aright ; and when- 
ever he so readeth, it is to his benefit. He that read- 
eth out of that, readeth [or may read] to his hurt : that 
being then up in him which misunderstands, misapplies, 
and grows conceited, wise, and confident, according to 
the flesh ; and so he is thereby liable to, and in great 
danger of, setting up his interpretations instead of the 
meaning of God's Spirit ; and of condemning that which 
doth not assenl and agree therewith [with them], 
though it be ever so necessary and precious a truth of 
God, and ever so fully demonstrated by his Spirit, 
to those who are in the true faith and understand- 
ing." 

The Jews, the Scribes, and Pharisees, are given as 
practical instances of reading to their hurt. The re- 
medy, and the knowledge that a man has it, will be 
easily supposed to lie in the enlightened spiritual under- 
standing ; but for the application 1 must refer to the 
piece itself There is subjoined, " A few words to such 
•as complain for want of Power." This short and ex- 
cellent piece (vol. ii. p. 540, of 4to. edition, and vol. iv. 
p. 336, of the 8vo.), after a lively testimony to the 
source of Power, the power of the endless life, thus con- 
cludes : " So that it concerns all people seriously to 
consider, whether the reason why they have not power, 
be not because they do not receive Christ, who hath all 
power in heaven and earth given to Him. For many 
talk of Christ ; but few come to Him in the Father's 
drawing ; so will not receive Him : like the Jews, who 
waited for his appearance, and yet rejected Him when 
He came." 

61. Somewhat relating to Church-government, where- 
in the necessitv, usefulness, and blessed effects of the 



or ISAAC PENINGTON. 195 

true Church-government, are here and there hinted 
at ; and this clearly manifested, That the authority 
and power of Christ's spirit in his church is no usurp- 
ed or antichristian authority, nor contrary to the 
true Hght and Hberty of any particular member, but 
a cherisher and preserver of it. As also remarks on 
some passages in a late book entitled, " Antichrist's 
transformations within, discovered by the light with- 
in." Wherein the antichristian transformer is made 
manifest, and the light within cleared from his false 
imputations and pretences to it. Written in obedi- 
ence to Him that is true, who hath given a certain 
testimony against him that is false, to very many in 
this his day ; and among others to me also, whom He 
hath pleased to gather and own among his children 
and servants in truth. 

This book, though not published during the author's 
life, was probably written about the time, when some 
who had been members of the society of Friends were 
beginning to find fault with the outward order and dis- 
cipline that was then arising in the society. By the 
citations made from the opponent's book, it appears 
that the general argument of it was, that a subjection 
to the regulations of the body, is an infringement of the 
liberty of the individual, and an inducement for his for- 
saking the immediate teachings of the light within, for 
the dominion of men ; whom he denies to have any such 
authority committed to them by the aJone Head of the 
church. The general reply is, that the true Spirit in 
the Church does not contradict the same Spirit in the 
members ; and that the superior degree which results 
from the union of many enhghtened minds, helps, pro- 
tects, and cherishes the lesser measure in individu- 
als. This principle is of course variously held forth 
according to the various branches of the adversary's 
attack. 

There doth not appear to be any particular practice 



196 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

of the society touched upon, except the standing or 
kneeling of the Friends in a nneeting, and the uncover- 
ing of the men, during the time of public prayer. This 
practice had been opposed by John Perrot many years 
before 1675, which I have conceived to be about the 
time of the writing of this piece by Isaac Penington ; 
because connected with it is another piece in reply to 
John Pennyman, an adversary whose book bears that 
date. This is, in the order of the works, 

62. Some misrepresentations of Me concerning Church- 
government cleared ; and the power and authority 
of God's Spirit, in governing his church, testified to ; 
by one whom it hath pleased the Lord to make a 
member of the church which He hath gathered, and 
and preserveth by his own Almighty arm ; who ac- 
counteth it his duty and honour in the Lord to be 
subject to the government and ordering of his Spirit 
and power in his church. 

I. P. 

The reader may observe that part of the title of 
Penington 's book. No. 13, "An Examination of the 
Grounds or Causes, &c." is as follows : " Whereunto 
somewhat is added about the authority and government, 
Christ excluded out of his church : which occasioneth 
somewhat concerning the true church government. 
1660." "Now this latter part," says he, "hath been 
so misrepresented as if, because the wrong church-go- 
vernment was excluded, the exclusion of all church-go- 
vernment was intended by me, there being no notice 
taken of my owning the true church-government; but 
only some passages of my disowning the false produced : 
as if they intended to overturn and deny all church-go- 
vernment." 

It is remarkable how, in different ages, and on differ- 
ent occasions, the opposing spirit avails itself of partial 
citation. But to advert to the subject, our author's 
opponent here was John Pennyman, who was endea- 



OF ISAAC PEXINGTON. 197 

rouring to show that his former sentiments on discipline 
were opposite to those which he held at the time of 
this controversy. Twelve citations are adduced of Pen- 
nyman from our author's " Examination," &c. These 
Penington confirms by some addition to each; and then 
to each superadds a question in order further to open 
his intention. Thus the work is one of those which are 
clear, and pleasant to be read, for the order in which 
it is written. The least citation, with its correspondent 
confirmation and question, is rather too long to be given 
here. Subjoined are some considerations on Church- 
government. Pennyman had joined the Society ; but 
taking offence at some things which he thought he had 
discovered to be wrong in it, had left it, and had be- 
come an opposer: though still laying claim to extraor- 
dinary revelations. He was contemporary with Rogers, 
another opposer, and his works are still extant. There 
appears in this book of our author's a benevolent and 
compassionate regard for his adversary, whom he ra- 
ther bewails than inveighs against. " I have been," 
says he, "in a great travail of spirit for J. Pennyman, 
the Lord having showed me his spirit and state : and 
this hath been the cry of my heart to the God and Fa- 
ther of my life for him, in great brokenness and tears, 
many times; Father, forgive him, for he knows not 
what he does. He knows not what Spirit and power 
he acts against, nor what spirit and power it is 
that leads him." In another place he says, " Truth 
teacheth that modesty, temperance, humility, tender- 
ness, and sobriety, that I dare not despise the voice that 
pretends to the anointing in any, until 1 have made 
trial of it. Yea, John Pennyman's voice and testi- 
mony, 1 durst not condemn, until the Lord my God, 
in the unerring light and pure springing life, manifested 
unto me that it was not of Him, but of the transform- 
ing enemy." 

63. The Seed of God, and of his Kingdom, treated and 
testified of, according to the Scriptures of truth, and 
R 2 



198 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

according to true experience felt in the heart from 
the God of Truth. 

This piece will admit of some analysis. It first treats 
of the Seed of the kingdom by answers to the following 
questions: "1. What the Seed is? 2. Who is the 
sower of this seed ? 3. Where is this seed to be found ? 

4. In what sorts of earth is this heavenly seed sown ? 

5. In what sort of earth it brings forth good fruit to 
perfection? 6. How may the ground that is bad be 
made good ? Was not the ground which is now good, 
once bad ; and may not the ground that is now bad be 
made good?" 

The work is next distributed under three heads ; 
namely, 

1. What is hid or wrapped up in this seed. 

2. The nature of it. 

3. The effects. 

" Indeed," says the author, " (here is so much wrap- 
ped up in it, as the heart of man cannot conceive, much 
less the tongue utter; yet somewhat have I felt, and 
somewhat is upon my heart to say in answer to this 
thing, under these four heads following :" 

"First, The glory of the kingdom of Heaven, the 
glory of the everlasting kingdom, is hid and wrapped 
up in it, as in a seed. " 

" Secondly, The divine nature of God Almighty is 
hid and wrapped up in it." 

"Thirdly, All the graces and virtues of God's holy 
Spirit are hid and wrapped up in this one seed. There 
is nothing God can require of the soul, nor [and] no- 
thing the soul can desire of God, but is hid and wrapped 

up in this seed. To make this a little more 

plain and evident 1 shall instance in some par- 
ticulars ;" 

" 1. The pure, living knowledge of the Father, 



OF ISAAC PHMXGTOy. 199 

and of his Son Christ Jesus, is wrapped up in this 
seed." 

" 2. Faith, the true faith, the Hvely, effectual saving, 
conquering faith, which gives victory over the world, 
and over the devil and his temptations, is contained or 
wrapped up in this seed." 

" 3. The pure fear, the holy fear, the heavenly fear, 
which is of a clean and heavenly nature, and endureth 
for ever, is also in this seed." 

" 4. The pure, divine love is in it." 

** 5. The pure hope, the hope of the upright, the 
hope which makes not ashamed, the hope which goes 
within the veil, and is a sure and steadfast anchor there, 
staying the mind upon the Lord, who keeps such in per- 
fect peace ; this hope is contained in, and springe th from 
the seed." 

" 6. The true patience, which obtains the crown, 
which makes perfect and entire, so that there is nothing 
wanting where it hath its perfect work, (James i. 4.) ; 
the patience which enables quietly to suffer any chas- 
tisement from God, or any affliction, or hard deal- 
ing from men, it is contained in, and given with, this 
seed." 

" 7. The Lamb's meekness is in it." 

" 8. Here poverty of spirit is witnessed." 

*' 9. Here mercifulness towards others is experienc- 
ed :" [I give this entire] " for he that is brought hither 
lives only by mercy ; and he that lives by mercy, and 
is daily what he is by mercy, cannot but be merciful to 
others." 

" 10. Here the true mourning and lamenting after 
the Lord, and his precious life and presence ; and be- 
cause of the presence or power of that which hinders 
the growth of the seed, and the soul's union with and 
enjoyment of the Lord in it, is witnessed." 

" 1 1. The true hungering and thirsting after righteous- 
ness ariseth from this seed." 

" 12. The true sobriety, moderation, and temperance, 
ariseth from this seed." 



^00 REVIEW OF THE WRITlN'GS 

" Lastly, To name no more, the cross which mortifies 
and crucifies to the world, and to sin, can only be taken 
up in the seed, or by virtue of the seed." 

" Fourthly, The new covenant which God makes with 
the new Israel, by which He makes the heart new, and 
writes his law in it, and takes away the stony heart, 
and heals all their backslidings, and loves them freely, 
and puts his Spirit within them, causing them to walk 
in his ways, and to keep his statutes and judgments, 
and do them ; even the holy agreement of the soul 

with God in Christ Jesus, is in this seed. Keep 

here, thou never goest out of the holy agreement with 
God and with Christ ; for in this grace and truth, in 
this seed of life, there is nothing that disagrees with 
them." 

The other two sections, concerning the nature and the 
effects of the Seed, are somewhat less capable of abridg- 
ment, and I have given to this work its full proportion 
of notice. It concludes with " Some queries [thirty-two 
in number] concerning^ God's Kingdom, whereby the 
Seed thereof may be the better illustrated and under- 
stood." 

64. An Epistle to all serious professors of the Christian 
religion : wherein a brief touch of my knowledge, 
sense, belief,and experience concerning the God-head, 
the'offering up of the Lord Jesus Christ in his body 
on the tree, as a propitiatory sacrifice to the Father, 
and the imputation of his righteousness to those who 
believe in his name and power, is nakedly laid before 
them ; wherein I am not alone, but one with those 
who have so learned and experienced the same in the 
leadings and light of his Holy Spirit. Written in 
love to them, that they might have the better un- 
derstanding of us, as to these things, and might not 
think otherwise, either of us, or of the Truth of our 
God, which we bear witness to, than there is cause> 
to their own hurt and prejudice. 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOJT. 201 

To the curiou3 in what generally goes by the name 
of Christian divinity, and too many such there are who 
do not like Penington seek after the experience of the 
life of religion in their hearts, this is an interesting 
piece, because it touches on controverted subjects. 
Since the time of Isaac Penington, the 7th verse in the 
5th chapter of John's first epistle has been shown to be 
an interpolation, by as much proof as the nature of the 
case will admit; namely, that it is not found, as the 
learned are now generally agreed, in any Greek manu- 
script written before the year 1500. This has been 
admitted by one of its admirers, and a great biblical 
critic* How it got into our bibles is not material here. 
The doctrine which it contains, as Richard Claridge 
among our own writers observes, is to be found in other 
parts of the New Testament. It is probable that our 
early Friends, in common with most a^er people then, 
received it as Scripture, Claridge and Penn how- 
ever have noticed the doubts which had begun to pre- 
vail. 

Penington, treating in this epistle of the Godhead, 
takes 1 John v. 7, as Scripture ; and, having quoted it, 
adds, " This, I believe from my heart, and have infalli- 
ble demonstrations of; for I know three, and feel three 
in spirit, even an eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 
which are but one eternal God. And I feel them also 
one, and have fellowship with them (through the ten- 
der mercy of the Lord) in their life, and in their 
redeeming power. And here I lie before the Lord 
in the sensible life, not desiring to know and com- 
prehend notionally ; but to feel the thing inward- 
ly, truly, sensibly, and effectually : yea, indeed, this is 
to me far beyond what I formerly knew notionally con- 
cerning them ; and I cannot but invite others hither." 

" Now, consider seriously, if a man from his heart 
believe thus concerning the eternal Power and God- 



* Bengel, 



202 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

head, that the Father is God, the Word God, the Holy 
Spirit God; and that these are one eternal God, waiting so 
to know God, and to be subject to him accordingly ; is 
not this man in a right frame of heart towards the Lord, 
in this respect? Indeed, Friends, we do know God sensi- 
bly and experimentally to be a Father, Word, and Spi- 
rit, and we worship the Father, in the Son, by his own 
Spirit, and here meet with the seal of acceptance with 
Him." 

• " Concerning the offering of the Lord Je- 
sus Christ without the gates of Jerusalem, 1 do exceed- 
ingly honour and esteem that offering, believing it had 
relation to the sins of the whole world, and was a pro- 
pitiatory sacrifice to the Father therefore [for them.] 
And surely he that is redeemed out of the world up to 
God by Christ, cannot deny that Christ Was his ransom, 
and that he was JM)ught with a price, and therefore is 
lo glorify God, With his body and spirit, which are 
God's. 1 Cor. vi. 20." He adduces also 1 Pet. i. 18, 
19, and Heb. ix. 14, and then goes on, " This we do 
own singly and nakedly, as in the sight of the Lord ; 
though I must confess we do not lay the sole stress upon 
that which is outward and visible (though we truly and 
fully acknowledge it in its place,) but upon that which 

is inward and invisible. The outward flesh 

is not the meat indeed, nor the outward blood the drink 
indeed ; but it is the Spirit, the life, the substance, 
which the birth that is born of the Spirit feeds upon, 
and lives by. Oh ! consider seriously, and wait on the 
Lord rightly to understand that Scripture, John vi. 63. 
^ It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth no- 
thing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spi- 
rit, and they are life." 

It would be difficult to abridge what the author says 
concerning Imputation. It may suffice to hint that it is 
not to sinful persons ; but to such as turning to the grace 
which visits them in their sinful state, are by it in mea- 
sure transplanted from the evil root, into the holy, where 



OF ISAAC PENINGTOX. 203 

they partake of the virtue and fatness of the true olive- 
tree. 

65. A Reply to an answer of some queries given forth 
by me, J. P., concerning the Gospel-baptism ; with 
answers to some other queries returned in a paper 
subscribed N. B. 

There is a date to this, which shows it to have been 
one of his latest writings, viz. 18th 5th month, 1679. 
The author first states his own query, then his respon- 
dent's answer, and next his own reply ; and so through- 
out. Next he answers N. B.'s questions, and winds up 
with the sense given to him of the " mystery of Christ, 
and of his enlightening, quickening, circumcising, and 
baptizing." But an abridgment of this piece would be 
difficult. 

(a) Five Epistles to Friends of Chalfont, dated in 1666, 
1670, and 1671, most of them from prison, follow 
next in the second Quarto volume ; and then a short 
peice entitled, 

(b) " Some Queries concerning compulsion in religion," 
written in Reading gaol in 1 670. 

One can scarcely call these books, nor probably the 
following short pieces. 

(c) Concerning the dispensation of the Gospel, or the 
dispensation of the Son in Spirit, which is the last dis- 
pensation, whereby the mystery of God, the mystery 
of the work of redemption is finished in the heart, 
all created anew inwardly, all subdued that is con- 
trary to God, the soul brought into, or translated into 
the everlasting kingdom, and the kingdom at length 
delivered up to the Father, and God becomes all in 
all ; where all names cease, and the pure eternal 
Being is known, united to, and lived in, after an un- 
utterable manner. Dated 18th 9th month, 1678. 



204 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

(d) Some Experiences which it hath pleased the Lord 
to give me concerning his way, his truth, his church, 
and people, against whom the gates of hell cannot 
prevail. 

In this review most of the tenets of the Society of 
Friends have been occasionally displayed. The post- 
script of the piece last mentioned relates to a subject 
which has often occasioned a sneer, and sets that sub- 
ject in a clear light. On this account, and because it 
abounds with unbounded philanthropy, the reader will 
not probably be displeased to see here. 

" 1 do not say that I as a man am infallible, or that 
any of us as men are infallible ; but God's light, God's 
grace, God's truth, God's Spirit, God's wisdom and 
power, is infallible ; and so far as we partake of that, 
are gathered into and abide in that, we partake of that 

which is infallible. And Oh ! let not men rest in, or 

be contented with, that knowledge which is fallible, 
but press after unity and fellowship with the Lord in 
his infallible Spirit ; there being no true union nor fel- 
lowship with Him in any thing that is fallible." 

" Oh ! that Protestants, Papists, Jews, Turks, Indians, 
did all know and own this light, that there might be an 
end of the darkness and misery, wherewith mankind 
hath been so long overwhelmed ; and happiness, both 
in particular nations and in the whole world, might be 
experienced in the stead thereof. For men's erring 
from the light and Spirit of God hath been the cause of 
all their misery ; and their returning to the light and 
Spirit of God (from which all have erred) will take 
away the cause of their misery ; and in it (as they faith- 
fully [become] subject to the Lord and travel therein) 
they shall find his power, love, and mercy revealed, to- 
wards their restoring unto happiness." 
« 31st 5tli month, 1679." 

The last piece in the volume, and probably the last 



OF ISAAC PENIXGTON. 205 

piece which this diligent hand ever wrote, is the follow- 
ing, of which, for the latter reason, I shall give a very 
copious extract. 

(e) Concerning the times and seasons, hoth which 
have been, and which are yet to be. 

This piece appears to have been written at differ- 
ferent times. The first part, and which more immedi- 
ately answers to the title, is as follows : 

** When God made man in his own image, placing 
him in Paradise, and giving him dominion over the 
works of his hands ; then wa€ a time of great joy to 
Adam and Eve, and should have still been so to them, 
and all mankind, had they continued in the state 
wherein they were created." 

" When Eve, and by her means Adam, hearkened to 
the voice of the serpent, disobeyed the Lord their Crea- 
tor, aspiring after wisdom and the knowledge of good 
and evil, out of God's way ; then was a season of mise- 
ry to Adam, and all his posterity ; the holy and hea- 
venly image being lost, and a cursed image gained in the 
stead thereof, and so man thrust out of Paradise, and 
the blessedness thereof, into the earth, which was curs- 
ed for man's sake. So in this state sin and the curse is 
man's portion, instead of the holiness and blessedness 
which his Creator had allotted him." 

" When God promised the blessed Seed, and reveal- 
ed himself to the fathers in the faith, begetting sons to 
himself, who heard his voice, obeyed and walked with 
Him ; then was a blessed time and season to them, 
though sin and death reigned in the world. But when 
the sons of God also forget Him, and mingled their seed 
with a corrupted world, then the deluge came, sweep- 
ing away all but Noah with his family, and the crea- 
tures saved in the ark." 



206 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS 

" When the Lord chose the Jews to be a people to 
himself, from amidst all nations, delivering them by his 
out-stretched arm out of Egypt, destroying Pharoah 
and his host, and led them through the wilderness, fit- 
ting the succeeding generation for the good land, bring- 
ing them into it, blessing and establishing them in it, 
while they feared him and walked in covenant with 
Him, then was a blessed time and season with that peo- 
ple. But when they provoked God, brought his judg- 
ments often, and at last utter ruin and desolation upon 
themselves ; then were seasons of great misery and dis- 
tress, and at last of utter destruction to them." 

" While the Gentiles were cast off, and were no peo- 
ple, being of the corrupt seed which God hath not cho- 
sen, nor had any delight in, and while they knew not 
the living God, but worshipped stocks and stones, and 
so were liable to the pouring down of his wrath and 
indignation upon all occasions, and to utter ruin and 
destruction, when their iniquities were full ; it was a sad 
time and season with them, wherein they were estrang- 
ed from the life of God, and his holy covenant of pro- 
mise, and were without God in the world," 

" When the Lord preached the gospel to the Gen- 
tiles, by his holy apostles and ministers, manifesting 
Christ to them, the hope of glory, the mystery hid from 
ages and generations, engrafting them into the holy 
vine and olive tree, giving them to partake of the 
sweetness and fatness thereof, even of the riches of his 
grace and goodness in his Son, who is eternal life, and 
gives eternal life to all his; then was such a time and 
season of love, grace, mercy, and peace, from God our 
Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ (both towards 
Jews and Gentiles), as had not been known in the 
world before." 

" When the Christian church apostatized, the love in 
many waxing cold, men, minding the name of Christi- 



or ISAAC PENINGTON. 207 

anity, and form of Godliness, but not the life and power, 
and so the Lord was provoked against them, to remove 
their candlestick out of its place, and give up the out- 
ward court to the Gentiles ; and so the Spirit was lost 
or departed from, the life lost, the power lost, the 
everlasting gospel hid from men's eyes, and dark- 
ness and men's inventions set up instead thereof in 
nations, tongues, and people, and the witnesses to any 
appearances of God's living truth and holy power per- 
secutexl ; then was a sad time, then was a season of 
death and darkness reigning over all nations, kindreds, 
tongues, and people, and the cup of fornication drunk 
by them all, and all generally bewitched by it, except 
those whose names were written in the Lamb's book of 
life. This was the greatest time of darkness (wherein 
the mystery of iniquity most deeply wrought, in the 
deepest ways of deceit) that ever was in the world." 

" When the church comes again out of the wilder- 
ness, when the spirit and power of God builds up again 
the gospel-church in its primitive glory ; when the 
everlasting gospel is preached again to all nations, kin- 
dreds, tongues and languages, in the authority and 
power of God ; when the Spirit of the Lord is poured 
out plentifully on his sons and daughters, and they pro- 
phesy, walk, and live in it ; when God dwells and 
walks in his people, and his true light shines in them, 
dispelling the darkness thoroughly, and filling them 
with the glory and majesty of the Lord ; and they as- 
cend up, out of the w^orld's spirit and nature, into his 
Spirit and nature, even in the sight of their enemies, 
and the full wrath of the Lamb be poured out on Ba- 
bylon, and the full glory revealed in Sion ; then shall 
there be such a day of brightness, and pure heavenly 
glory, as shall dazzle the eyes of all beholders," 

" But the passing away of this night, and the bring- 
ing forth of this day, wull be very terrible and dread- 
ful, both in particulars and in nations. The kingdoms 



208 REVIEW OF THE WRITINGS, &C 



of this world must indeed become the kingdom of our 
Lord and of his Christ ; but it will require great power 
to bring it about. The wrath and strength of the spirit 
of darkness will be working against the Lord and 
his power to the utmost; and the more it works 
against the Lord and his power, the more will the 
Lord's power and the wrath of the Lamb be re- 
vealed against that spirit, and against all its devices 
and undertakings against the counsel and power of the 
Lord. Oh ! blessed are they that are of the Lamb's 
nature and spirit, of his righteousness and meekness, 
for the wrath of the Lamb will not be kindled against 
them ; but he will be a munition of rocks unto them, 
and their inward life shall be preserved, and they shall 
enjoy peace with the Lord, in the midst of all that shall 
outwardly befall them." 

'> Mesborough, in Kent, 22d Gth month, 1679." 

The second part, which is somewhat longer, is dated 
three days after the foregoing. It describes the state 
that will be safe when the divine judgments are poured 
upon nations ; and also sets forth the class that will not 
be able to find a shelter in that trying time. Then 
follows, after some benevolent aspirations, an addresss, 
by way of advice to such as " are touched with the 
fear of the Lord, and the sense of his righteous judg- 
ments due to this nation." A short postscript to this 
part thus concludes the volume ; 

^*The gospel-religion is very precious, being inwardly 
felt and experienced in the life and power of it : but 
a bare profession of it, out of the life and power of god- 
liness, is of no value in the sight of God, nor is it of 
any profit or advantage to the soul" 

TtJE J3NP. 



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